People invest thousands of dollars to get beautifully straight teeth. When their treatment does not meet their expectations, unhappy patients may file malpractice claims against orthodontists.
If patients file liability claims, a close review of their chart might unveil successful defense strategies.
Patients did not show up for appointments
Standard orthodontic treatment often requires follow-up appointments once every few weeks. Proper treatment usually involves orthodontists making minor adjustments over long periods. However, if patients only show up to appointments every few months or not at all, over or under-correction can occur. Inconsistent treatment is not the orthodontists’ fault if patients choose not to show up to schedule appointments.
Patients did not wear appliances as prescribed
Standard orthodontic treatment may include the use of apparatuses to move teeth. Some standard devices are:
- Rubber bands
- Palatal expanders
Since orthodontists only prescribe these additional appliances when necessary, patients that choose not to use them, or use them differently than intended, may not get the results the orthodontist anticipated.
Patients had a preexisting medical condition
Several conditions, such as diabetes and periodontal disease, can interfere with successful orthodontic treatment. If patients fail to disclose existing health conditions or do not keep up with proper treatment, those health conditions may force orthodontists to terminate treatment before the teeth are straight. Conditions such as gum disease can erode bone or cause infections that make orthodontic treatment unsafe.
Knowing that there might be other explanations for patients’ complaints can provide successful defense strategies for orthodontists.