Can a dental hygienist install a bridge?

by Flor
(Waukegan, IL)

On January 31 I went to see the dentist for my biannual cleaning. I was informed that the dentist was available to prepare my teeth for the bridge. (The dental hygienist has been telling me that I need to a bridge.) After shaving my two teeth, the dental hygienist finished the whole process of putting on temporary cement.

After 1 month, the clinic called and said the the bridge was ready. Since the dentist was out of the country, the dental hygienist placed the bridge in my mouth.

Two weeks following the procedure, I have been experiencing severe pain. I did text the hygienist asking if it was normal, because the pain was getting more severe instead of subsiding. She said she texted the dentist, but did not get a reply.

I went to see another dentist for an emergency check up. She did an x-ray and said that the nerves are dying. She mentioned that a dental hygienist can not perform or is not allowed to put bridges on a patient. She referred me to an endodontist for a root canal. They charged me $779 as a copay.

My question is, do I have grounds to file for dental malpractice, since the hygienist did the bridge (because the dentist was unavailable), which led to severe pain? How do I pursue this? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Can a dental hygienist install a bridge?":

Flor (Waukegan, IL):

From the facts you present, you certainly seem to have the basis of a malpractice claim against the dental practice. Dental hygienists are not qualified to perform procedures precipitating bridges.

Malpractice in these types of cases would be generally defined as the "actions or omissions of a dentist, which fell beneath the standard set in the local dental community, and caused injury to a patient."

The failure of the dentist to perform the procedure precipitating the bride is a glaring omission, which appears to form the basis of a dental malpractice claim.

If you want to pursue a malpractice claim, gather copies of your dental records and seek the counsel of several malpractice attorneys in your area. They should not charge for initial office consultations. Bring your dental records.

You will likely find several attorneys who will gladly accept your case. Because medical malpractice attorneys do not charge any legal fees or costs in advance, you will only have to pay fees if and when your attorney settles your case, or wins it at trial.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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