Visitor Question

File Left in Tooth After Root Canal…

Submitted By: Margo (Fulton, NY)

About 10 years ago I had a root canal done. This tooth has been bothering me ever since with pain and discomfort. My new dentist sent me to see an endodontist today and they found that a file had been left in my canal!

Now I need to have a procedure done called an Apicoectomy (or a Root End Surgery) to remove the infection that’s in there. I was also told, if the tooth is fractured they will have to remove it.

I live in New York and I don’t know anything about the laws or statue of limitations. I’d like to know if I can do anything about this, if the original doctor should pay or if I’m stuck with it myself (even though I know it’s caused from the file in my canal)? Any information you can give would be greatly appreciated.

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 Margo,

The statute of limitations period for a personal injury (dental) lawsuit is 3 years from the date of the injury, or from the date when the injury could have been reasonably discovered. In your case there’s a very good possibility you still may be legally able to file a dental malpractice claim against the dentist, even though the infliction of the injury occurred about 10 years ago.

As long as you can prove there was no reasonable way you could have previously discovered the file inside your tooth, you should be able to succeed in your dental malpractice claim. Be sure to have the dentist who located the file in your tooth enter that information into your dental chart. Ask the dentist to verify the infection was caused by the file.

Contact a personal injury attorney with experience in dental or medical malpractice. You should not try and handle your own claim. There are some personal injury claims which can be handled without an attorney. This is not one of them.

Most personal injury attorneys do not charge a fee for an initial office consultation. Make appointments with several personal injury attorneys. Bring with you copies of your original dental records made at the time and by the dentist who left the file in your tooth, and from the most recent dentist.

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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