Dentists across the U.S. perform at least 15 million root canals on damaged teeth each year, according to the American Association of Endodontists. A dentist’s error, however, may result in an infection. It may also take months or years to discover that a dentist’s negligence caused an injury.
As noted by Health.com, a tooth may become infected or diseased after a root canal if it did not fully heal after the procedure. Although some recovering patients may not experience immediate pain, an infected or damaged tooth may not have received a thorough enough treatment.
Dental negligence during a root canal procedure
Root canals remove decaying pulp located within layers of infected or damaged teeth. If a dentist fails to remove all the decaying material, a tooth may become diseased. An oral condition may develop and eventually spread to surrounding teeth, gums or cheeks.
Dentists owe a duty of care to their patients and must protect them from harm. As noted on the National Institutes of Health website, an unexpected puncture or failing to use a rubber dam could cause injuries. A rubber dam may prevent an anesthetized patient from swallowing or inhaling dental instruments.
Damage from delaying tooth restoration
Oral problems may develop if a dentist delays in providing a permanent restoration. Serious injury could result from a dentist failing to measure a patient’s teeth and then placing an ill-fitting crown. This may allow bacteria to survive and cause an infection.
Symptoms of an oral infection include pain, swelling and pressure. If symptoms continue after a root canal, a patient may require legal action for recovery. Damages may include expenses for medical treatment and corrective oral surgery. The court may also award compensation for the loss of wages and a patient’s pain and suffering.