Visitor Question

Dentist left a gap in my tooth which led to an abscess and extraction…

Submitted By: Richard (Guyton, GA)

I went to a dentist on January 10 of this year with a tooth that had part of a previous filling missing. I was expecting it to be extracted but the dentist said he could put a pulp cap on and refill the tooth, and it could be saved.

He drilled the tooth, put a pulp cap on and put in a permanent filling. Unfortunately, the new filling left a tiny gap between it and the tooth. On Wednesday, February 4th, the tooth started hurting. I thought maybe it was just sensitivity. By Friday the 6th I was in severe pain.

The dentist’s office closed at 5pm that day and I was not able to make it in. The office was closed until Monday and I was in severe pain all weekend. When I went to the dentist on Monday Feb 9th, I scheduled an extraction due to the tooth being abscessed.

The tooth was still in the same condition as when he had finished the filling, and the only way for the abscess to happen was bacteria entering the tooth via the gap left between the new filling and the tooth. So the filling left a gap in my tooth and led to the abscess and extraction. Do I have a case for this poor work? What can I do? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Richard,

There is no actual basis of a case for “poor work.” From the facts you present, it does appear poor work existed, but the poor work resulted only in your having to suffer pain for a weekend.

While suffering pain for any amount of time is oppressing, the only action you might have against the dentist is one where he or she either refunds your money, or chooses not to charge you for any more work necessary to properly repair the tooth.

However, if it can be established the gap in your tooth was something which was reasonably uncorrectable by the dentist, then it raises the possibility that bacteria might have entered the tooth regardless.

When it comes to dentistry, sometimes the work performed results in pain, including infection. If there was a reasonable possibility the work performed by the dentist could result in an abscess, then you may not have a case for poor work. The best thing to do is sit down with the dentist and request an explanation.

Learn more here: Filing a Dental Malpractice Lawsuit

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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