A graphic of a mouth being cleaned by a dentist that reads: "Rhode Island Dental Malpractice Lawyer," regarding a Rhode Island dental malpractice claim.

Always call d’Oliveira & Associates After a Dental Mistake. Your Health and Safety is Our Number One Priority.

If your dentist has injured you or a loved one, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and other damages. We work with some of the most knowledgeable lawyers in dental malpractice across the country. There is no charge or fee unless you receive an award or settlement. To receive a free case evaluation with no obligation, please call our toll-free number 24/7 at 1-(508) 715-3134 or fill out an online contact form.

What is Dental Malpractice? 

Dental malpractice occurs when a dentist breaches the proper standard of care. Like every doctor, every dentist has a standard of care they must follow when a provider-patient relationship exists. Different ways to show this relationship include but are not limited to: 

  • Insurance statements
  • Evidence of an appointment with that dentist
  • Certain types of receipts
  • Documents that demonstrate this relationship 

What Laws Govern Dentists in Rhode Island 

In Rhode Island, Chapter 31.1, “Dentists and Dental Hygienists,” contains statutes on dentists. These statutes range from complaints, charges, sanctions, violations, licensing, and power and duties of the board of examiners. Click HERE to learn more about Chapter 31.1.

My Dentist Denies Responsibility for the Procedural Error. What Should I Do?

Unfortunately, many Dentists have denied any wrongdoing when an error has occurred. If this happens, there are four main options. 

Option one: You can contact your dentist and resolve the dispute. 

Option two: If your dentist still denies wrongdoing, you can contact your state’s dental society. Many dental societies have a “peer review process” to resolve disputes. 

Option three: You can contact your state’s dental board. The Rhode Island dental board and the Rhode Island dental society can be found below. 

Option four: If you choose to sue your dentist, you can consult an attorney. Once you consult an attorney, they will likely evaluate your case to see if you have a claim against your dentist.

Rhode Island Dental Board: 875 Centerville Rd Bldg 4, Suite 12. Warwick, RI 02886.


What’s the Statute of Limitations for Dental Malpractice in Rhode Island?

Even if you sign a consent form, you may still be able to sue for dental malpractice. Often, consent forms do not fully protect doctors or dentists from liability. 

Dentist Pulled the Wrong Tooth, Can I Sue? 

Tooth extraction is a procedure that often occurs in a dentist’s office. In 2019 a questionnaire called “The prevalence and causes of wrong tooth extraction” took 186 questionnaire responses from participants. The questionnaire demonstrated that 21% of people had experienced wrong tooth extraction. The questionnaire also revealed several reasons why this error occurs in dentist offices. Some reasons include rushing, lack of focus, lack of experience, distraction, and multiple decaying teeth. According to the questionnaire, the three (3) most common reasons were miscommunication, inadequate referral and exhaustion of an overworked dentist. If this happens to you, you may have a case. You will need to demonstrate with evidence that not only the incorrect tooth was extracted but that your claim has met all five elements of a dental malpractice claim.

Elements of a Dental Malpractice Claim

There are five elements in a Dental Malpractice suit:

  • Provider [Dentist]-Patient Relationship: A provider-patient relationship must be present. Evidence can help show this relationship. Evidence to demonstrate this relationship includes but is not limited to a statement from your insurance company, confirmation of an appointment with the provider, receipts, or any documents that specify the relationship. 
  • Breach of Care: The evidence must demonstrate that the dentist broke their duty of care. Presenting a mistake made by the dentist or even showing the patient is unhappy with the result can be used as evidence of a breach of care. 
  • An injury suffered: The patient must show that an injury or harm occurred. Some examples of injuries that have appeared include but are not limited to nerve damages, infections, and illness from oral disease. 
  • The severity of Injury:  The evidence must demonstrate that the dentist’s breach of care caused you harm. 
  • File within the statute of limitations: The statute of limitations in Rhode Island is three years.

Examples Of Dental Malpractice 

Dental Malpractice comes in many forms. Examples of Dental Malpractice include but are not limited to: 

  • Oral infections
  • Nerve damage 
  • Injuries due to root canals 
  • Wrongful tooth extraction 
  • Failure to diagnose illness 
  • Failure to detect an issue 
  • Intentional misconduct 
  • Poor sterilization 
  • Oral injuries

Click HERE for a video sharing more examples of common Dental Malpractice disputes.

Helpful Answers From an Experienced Rhode Island Dental Malpractice Lawyer 

What Can Go Wrong in a Dentist’s Office?

  • Wrongful tooth extraction
  • Infections
  • Nerve damage
  • Anesthesia errors 
  • Wrongful death


How Do I Choose a Dentist? 

When deciding on a Dentist, there are many factors to consider. These include but are not limited to: 

  • The cleanliness of the office 
  • Insurance policy 
  • The health practices of the office (do they wear masks, gloves, etc.)
  • Preventive dentistry methods

Can I Receive Compensation?

Yes. The amount of compensation and the type of compensation you may receive will vary and is not guaranteed. However, it is possible to get compensation. Some kinds of compensation include but are not limited to: 

  • Pain and suffering 
  • Medical expenses 
  • Lost wages

Does My Dental Malpractice Case Stand a Chance?

To see if your Dental Malpractice case is strong enough, you should consult a Dental Malpractice attorney. 

Am I Still Able to Pursue a Lawsuit if I Signed a Consent Form?

Even if you sign a consent form, you may still be able to sue for dental malpractice. Often, consent forms do not fully protect doctors or dentists from liability. 


Common Types of Dental Malpractice Cases

  • Nerve damage: Nerve damage can occur during many different dental procedures. Some include root cancels, fillings and tooth extraction. 
  • Injuries due to a root canal: When a dentist incorrectly performs a root canal, it causes an injury. 
  • Injuries due to a tooth extraction: When a dentist performs a tooth extraction, it can lead to various injuries such as nerve damage, extensive bleeding or harm to the oral tissue.
  • Failure to diagnose illness: If a dentist fails to diagnose cancer, a disease or an infection, this can lead to further injuries. 
  • Failure to detect an issue: If a dentist fails to detect a potential infection or cavity, this can lead to further injuries. 
  • Intentional misconduct: Intentionally harming the patient during dentist work.
  • Poor sterilization: When a dentist incorrectly cleans or poorly sterilizes tools used during dental work, this can lead to infections.  
  • Oral injuries: Oral injuries include cuts, infections and defects caused by dental work. 
  • Oral cancer: When a dentist is conducting dental work and fails to diagnose identifiable oral cancer, this may be considered dental malpractice. 
  • Bridges: Wrongful placement and attachment of bridges in the mouth
  • Crowns: Wrongful placement and attachment of crowns in the mouth
  • Dental anesthesia: Dental malpractice caused by anesthesia may occur when complications arise because a dentist administered incorrect anesthesia or the wrong amount of anesthesia. 
  • Broken Tooth: A broken tooth can occur during dental work.