Suing for crown failure?

by D
(Hesperia, CA)

Last year I initially went to Dentist A for an examination of my teeth. Upon inspection he told me my back molar had decay and would need a crown. Doing this was supposed to save the nerve and avoid having to do a root canal. Fast forward to a little over a year, at which point I've changed dentists because I didn't feel comfortable with Dentist A and felt his office could be committing insurance fraud as well.

I went to see Dentist B who upon inspection of my teeth realized that the crown on my back molar was not set properly, which let decay get in, so he recommended that I have Dentist A fix it.

Before I was even able to see Dentist A (I made appt but they ended up changing/canceling it at the last minute) I was struck with SEVERE tooth pain. I was actually on day 3 of my 7 day cruise when this happened. Long story short, Dentist A refuses to do anything without me forking out more money.

So Dentist B went ahead with removing the crown and treating the tooth. Upon removal of the crown he saw that Dentist A used glue to build up the tooth, didn't remove all of the decay before placing the crown, and misplaced the crown. All of these added together caused the nerve/tooth to decay and now I have to have a root canal on that tooth as well as a new crown.

After learning this I would not trust Dentist A to do the work even if they offered, but would like to be compensated for the money lost (including time off of work) and the pain and suffering. Do you think I'd have a case?

Also, Dentist B took pictures of the tooth and also kept the crown with all of the glue and said he would be willing to write a letter. He seems to think we would have a case but I would like a second opinion. Thanks for any perspective you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Suing for crown failure?":

D (Hesperia, CA):

It's rare for one health care professional to agree to write a letter supporting a patient's claim against another health care professional.

Dental malpractice is legally defined as:

"...an act or omission by a dentist which falls beneath the accepted standard of practice in the dental community and causes injury to a patient."

To have a claim for dental malpractice would require proof the work Dentist A performed fell beneath the standard of care of other dentists in your area, and that the dental malpractice caused you injury.

Proving this will require one or more other dentists to testify Dentist A's work fell beneath the standard of care and caused you injury. In your case, your injury would be the unnecessary pain and suffering your endured.

You can demand reimbursement from Dentist A, but if he or she refuses you will need to seek legal representation. This is because medical and dental malpractice cases are complex and often require paying dental experts to testify.

Fortunately, most medical and dental malpractice attorneys will pay all the costs for you. Moreover, you won't have to pay any legal fees until such time as your attorney settles your claim 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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