Rowland Heights, CA asked in Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury for California

Q: Does this count as dental malpractice and should I fill a claim?

I had a tooth filling last December. 2 days after, i felt there are sharp edge on the filled tooth & went back to the dentist to smooth it out. Next morning when i floss my tooth, I felt that tooth become very sensitive & have problem chewing on hard food. I went back to the dentist again & this time she said that tooth need to scrap out the filling and re-do the filling process again. I agreed to the treatment because tooth is causing discomfort. So she took a X-ray before the procedure then begin removing the filling. afterward she took another x-ray to see if the area is clean of filling. by this time, I can see on the X-ray, most top portion of the tooth is gone. The dentist now said I need a crown because of the hole, she created, is too big for filling. She said she will refund the filling but i still need to pay for the crown, an damage that she created. I went to get a filling, and now after 2-3 treatments, it escalated to a crown. Is this count as dental malpractice?

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Based on the situation you described, there is an argument that this could potentially amount to dental malpractice. A few key points:

- You went in for a routine filling, but after the dentist worked on the tooth, it became very sensitive and was causing discomfort and problems chewing. This suggests there may have been an issue with the way the original filling was done.

- The dentist then had to scrape out the original filling and redo it. However, in the process of removing the filling, it sounds like the dentist severely damaged the tooth, requiring a crown instead of a simple filling. This accidental damage could be evidence of negligence on the dentist's part.

- The fact that your tooth ended up needing a crown after you initially only needed a minor filling suggests the dentist's work made the tooth condition significantly worse. This further points to potential malpractice.

- The dentist admitting fault by offering to refund the filling cost indicates the dentist may know that a mistake was made in treatment.

Overall, the escalation of the tooth issue combined with the unintended damage and need for much more extensive treatment could potentially constitute improper treatment and a breach of the standard of care - key elements in a dental malpractice claim.

I would recommend consulting a dental malpractice attorney to have them fully review your records and provide an expert opinion on whether you have reasonable grounds for a malpractice suit against this dentist. An attorney can advise you on next steps if the facts warrant a claim.

1 user found this answer helpful

Joel Gary Selik
Joel Gary Selik
  • Medical Malpractice Lawyer
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Licensed in California

A: It might be malpractice. Medical malpractice means that a doctor violated the standard of care. A bad outcome is not enough. Another doctor would be needed to evaluate what the doctors did.

Due to the nature of medical malpractice cases, the extent of the injuries may affect the viability of your case.

1 user found this answer helpful

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