Medford, OR asked in Medical Malpractice for Oregon

Q: I took my daughter to the dentist and she received unnecessary dental work that I did not authorize or approve.

I took my six year old daughter to the dentist she was supposed to have two fillings and a coating of sealant put on her teeth. after the dental assistant brought my daughter out she had said that two of her teeth were loose and it falling out during the procedure on their own after getting home and further inspection on her mouth we noticed that there had been a placer or spacer put in on the bottom missing tooth and it was obviously pulled. Which was a previous dental procedure that they wanted to perform on my daughter and I had told them no that I did not want that procedure done.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Virgil Royer
Virgil Royer
  • Salem, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: I hope that your daughter is doing well. Getting dental care at a young age is important and you want her to have a positive experience. This is a tough issue, because a child (as a patient) cannot legally consent to treatment. You, as the parent, are in control of what is consented to and what is not. The law, of course, mandates that as part of your parental responsibility you ensure your child gets the treatment that s/he needs. If the dentist performed treatment that was not authorized, then they committed a battery on your child. There is an argument that in this case they did commit a battery if, as you say, they pulled the teeth in direct violation to what you instructed. However, if they fell out on their own, then there is no battery. The second issue, though, is damages. How was your daughter harmed by the dentist's conduct? If there were signifanct damages, then you should have a valid claim for what occurred. Otherwise, you might just want to discuss your concerns with the office manager and/or owner of the business and see if an agreement can be reached that will prevent this type of miscommunication in the future. I am assuming the teeth that fell out were "baby" teeth and new ones will take their place; if not, then perhaps you should look for an attorney in your area that specializes in malpractice claims against healthcare providers. Most personal injury attorneys can file a complaint for damages as a result of a battery, but not all attorneys sue professionals.

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