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California Lawyers Who Defend Dental Care Providers Against Malpractice Claims

Advocates for dentists at trial and Dental Board of California proceedings

The health of teeth affects not only a person’s physical well-being but also their appearance. Dentists must consider both aspects when advising patients and providing treatment. In this way, dentistry involves a combination of medical knowledge and aesthetic judgment unique to this medical field.

Davis, Grass, Goldstein & Finlay exclusively represents healthcare providers in settlement negotiations, civil court trials and Dental Board of California administrative proceedings. Applying 150 years of combined experience, our lawyers challenge the elements of a malpractice claim — that you had a professional duty to the plaintiff, that you breached the duty and that your actions injured the plaintiff and caused damages.

Duty of care

Your doctor-patient relationship is typically enough to establish a duty of care. At Davis Grass, our attorneys determine the precise extent of the duties you owed the patient alleging negligence. Different dental care providers, such as the following, have different roles and responsibilities to patients:

  • Endodontic practitioners
  • Orthodontists
  • Periodontists
  • Oral surgeons

Actions that are considered dental negligence

To prove you breached the duty of care, a patient must demonstrate that you acted in a manner that does not conform to the standard of care expected of a dentist. The following behavior could lead to allegations of dental malpractice:

  • Delaying treatment of periodontal disease
  • Failing to diagnose oral cancer
  • Causing cosmetic damage to teeth, jaw, lips or face
  • Piercing or cutting healthy tissue, resulting in nerve damage
  • Fracturing the tooth with a drill or chisel
  • Extracting healthy teeth
  • Using unsterile tools, leading to infection or blood poisoning

Patient’s dental negligence — an affirmative defense

California comparative negligence law relieves a defendant of liability if the plaintiff contributed more than 50 percent to the injuries or illness. In addition, you are only financially responsible for the percentage of damages attributed to you. Under the concept of comparative negligence, if a plaintiff sustained $100,000 worth of damages, but is found 51 percent at fault or more, that person is not entitled to recover money. On the other hand, if you, the dental care provider, are found 80 percent to blame for the injuries, the court can order an $80,000 judgment against you.

Our lawyers investigate the details of the claims against you and determine what type of malpractice defense is appropriate in your case. We may use any of the following strategies:

  • Explain that the patient did not schedule appointments every six months as recommended
  • Allege that the patient failed to maintain an adequate at-home hygiene regimen — such as regular brushing and flossing
  • Prove that the patient did not follow post-procedure instructions
  • Establish that the patient’s drug use or poor medical health, and not your negligence, was the cause of accelerated tooth decay
  • Reveal that you explained the risks of a certain procedure, and that the patient consented

Fight the dental malpractice claim filed against you

Let our lawyers support you as you battle allegations of medical malpractice in the dental field. Call Davis, Grass, Goldstein & Finlay at 909.476.2662 or contact our law firm online to schedule an appointment. We represent dentists in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties and throughout Southern California. Our office is located near the intersection of I-10 and I-15, only a few minutes away from the Ontario International Airport.