Endodontist botched root canal...

by Emily
(San Francisco, CA)

I went to an endodontist in 2007 after my dentist determined I needed a root canal on my last lower right side molar, tooth #31. The endodontist drilled a hole through the bottom of my tooth (went further than he should have for the root canal), sealed it up as normal, and didn't say anything.

Seven years later, I was having pain in that area, so I got x-rays. A new endodontist told me there was no saving the tooth, and it would have to be extracted. Because it is my last molar on that side, I have to get an implant. All of this will cost me upwards of $4500, not to mention the $2700 for the original botched root canal that caused me to lose my tooth.

I know that root canals can fail, but I've had both the endodontist and the oral surgeon tell me this was a mistake on the first guy's part. He drilled too far, and I was doomed to lose that tooth from that day forward.

Do I have a case for dental malpractice? Should he at least cover the cost of my bills, and refund what I paid 7 years ago? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Endodontist botched root canal...":

Emily (San Francisco, CA):

The statute of limitations in the State of California for personal injury claims is two (2) years from the date of injury. Under normal circumstances, you would be precluded from pursuing a legal claim against the previous endodontist. But, there is an exception to the two year limitations statute...

Under certain conditions, the California statute of limitations can be "tolled." To be tolled means the statute is extended, even after the two year period expires. In your case, the statute may be tolled because you reasonably could not have discovered the possible dental malpractice until recently.

Because you could not have reasonably discovered the problem until your new endodontist explained it to you, you may have two more years to pursue a legal claim against the previous endodontist.

To do so, you will have to either settle a dental malpractice claim against the endodontist, or file a lawsuit within two years from the date the new endodontist informed you of the problem

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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