Wrongly filed teeth cause misaligned shape and cracks...

by Samantha
(Jersey City, NJ)

I went in for Invisalign treatment. Into the second month of my treatment the dentist said she has to file my teeth. I agreed, and after my teeth were filed she told me to put on my liners and I went home, without looking in a mirror.

When I got home, my friend immediately pointed out that my teeth were misaligned, asking me if I chipped my teeth. Confused, I checked my teeth in the mirror, and there were blatant filing mistakes that actually gave me a chipped tooth look. As I looked more closely, I noticed that my left front tooth had a sliver crack in it, due to her filing.

I am horrified to know my tooth is weakened and fear future tooth problems. All the dentist could say was "sorry," and told me if I want to fix her mistakes, she would have to charge me for caps! My right front tooth has a visible misaligned shape with one edge cut off, and my bottom right tooth has a misaligned look, as if one edge of the tooth had been cut off as well, it is absolutely terrible.

What can I do to compensate for her mistakes, and to avoid paying to put in caps and get them replaced continuously because she messed up? Is this malpractice? Is she legally responsible to pay for her mistakes? Thank you.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Wrongly filed teeth cause misaligned shape and cracks...":

Samantha (Jersey City, NJ):

Ask the dentist for copies of your dental records. You have a right to them. From the facts you present, your claim is a viable one, made stronger by the dentist’s admission of mistakes. Those mistakes are apparently permanent, and your teeth would not have been damaged "but for" the actions of the dentist.

Dentists rarely admit to having committed malpractice, and as a result, to obtain any financial compensation for the dentist's errors will require filing a lawsuit. Moreover, because most dentists are heavily insured, you can be sure any lawsuit which you might file would be fiercely defended by the dentist’s insurance company's attorneys.

Malpractice claims should never be handled by a victim alone. Dental and med mal claims are complex and require expert legal representation. Because of the permanent damage to your teeth and the dentist’s admission of mistakes, you may be able to find a personal injury attorney who will accept your case.

But there may be a problem... Unless there were witnesses who heard the dentist apologize for the permanent damage to your teeth, you can be confident the dentist will deny ever having made such a statement. Without proof of the dentist’s admission of fault, the case will be very difficult to prove.

With copies of your dental records in hand, make several appointments with personal injury attorneys in your area. Fortunately, most injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations. Bring your records and let the attorneys review them. Once you do, you will have a better idea of the possibility of success.

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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