Gum Graft Gone Wrong...
I had a gum graft in mid October of this year. I had a root that was partially exposed on my left lower bottom tooth and some recession. I went in for my post op and stitches removal one week after. I thought I was going to see the Dentist. I did not, I saw the Dental Assistant.
I was fine with it until she commented something to the effect that she could not tell the stitches from new gum tissue. They were clear stitches that were supposed to dissolve, but not much had dissolved in the week after the surgery. She removed what she believed to be stitches.
Two weeks later, I began to have some abnormal pain where the surgery took place. It felt similar but worse than prior to the surgery in terms of pain from root exposure. I called the office and came in. The dentist was in a hurry, and I had to clarify to the front desk that I wanted to see her and not the assistant.
The Dentist came into the room for approximately 2 minutes, very briefly looked at the area and said that I looked like I would normally two weeks later. She did not recall my date of surgery however, as it had only been 3 weeks since my surgery. I thought that was strange. I asked for some Ibuprofen to be prescribed due to the pain. The assistant wrote the prescription and I left.
I was under the impression that I was fine and the pain was just due to the healing. It has now been two months of pain and I am in more pain than I've ever been in with this issue. The area seems to be more recessed with even more root exposure than prior to the surgery. I am in pain and can not afford to take time off of work to go through surgery.
I also no longer feel comfortable with the Dentist to have her perform the surgery again. I am not sure what to do, but I have been in pain - sometimes excruciating - for two months now and it is very uncomfortable. I am also concerned that it has sped up the time that I would have lost my bottom tooth and I am now worried that is a reality.
I also feel I should be compensated for lost wages due to another surgery and recovery period. I have an appointment this Monday at 4:30PM (I have to miss 2 hours of work to be there) and I am concerned I will be told that my condition is my fault and that I can have her re-do it, perhaps at a fee. I don't want her touching me again.
What can I do? Also, they took before pictures prior to the surgery. Do I have a right to those and my x-rays? Any information you can give on my options would be appreciated. Thank you.
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ANSWER for "Gum Graft Gone Wrong...":
You consistently state you are quite unhappy and distrustful of the dentist and her assistant. It should be clear then that continuing to seek help from the dentist is inappropriate. You need a second opinion. Unless you need emergency medical care, make an appointment with at least one or more different dentists.
You have a right to copies of your dental records, including x-rays. Tell the dentist you want copies at the earliest possible time. Call several dentists and make appointments to visit with them and bring your dental records. Before considering legal action, seek the dental care you need. Your health is much more important than any legal action you might consider.
If, after seeing other dentists you feel dental malpractice occurred, then seek out appointments with several medical malpractice attorneys. Most won't charge you any fee for an initial consultation.
If the attorneys feel you have the basis of a dental malpractice claim, they will undertake your representation on a contingency basis. This means you won't have to pay any legal fees until your case is settled or won 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,
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