Visitor Question

Dentist shaved my teeth for a bridge without my consent?

Submitted By: William (Philadelphia, PA)

I chipped my tooth and went to the dentist and he said he had to pull it. After it was pulled a lady with a very strong accent explained the options for treatment. I said I wanted something permanent. The dentist said that he would make a temporary bridge.

A week later I met with their bone graft dentist. I had decided that I should get an implant after doing research. He said my teeth had been shaved to prepare it for a permanent bridge. I had no idea that the two teeth had been shaved down!

I asked for the papers that I had signed agreeing to this, they said I didn’t sign anything. I have been so depressed since that day. Is there anything I can do about this? Is this dental malpractice since he didn’t get my consent for this? Thank you for any information you can give.

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.

Answer

Dear William,

The key phrase seems to be, “I said I wanted something permanent.” This phrase is subject to interpretation by you, the dentist, and the lady with a strong accent.

If you were under sedation at the time you communicated with the dentist or the lady with a strong accent, it is arguable you did not give legitimate consent to whatever procedures were eventually done. Of course, it is likely the dentist will argue he or she, and/or the lady with a strong accent explained everything to you.

In most cases dentists are not required to obtain from the patient written consent before proceeding. Normally the dentist and patient discuss what work has to be done, and the work then proceeds. Before you consider the issue of dental malpractice, sit down with the dentist and have the dentist explain what happened.

Because of the relatively minor (at least from a legal standpoint) issue of money and injury, it will be quite difficult to find an attorney to accept your case. You can be sure you will not be able to successfully pursue a dental malpractice claim on your own.

It is very rare a dentist will admit he or she committed malpractice. That’s why they pay such high insurance premiums. Along with their insurance premiums comes a guarantee an attorney will represent them in any malpractice claim.

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) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: February 21, 2015

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