Visitor Question

Periodontal disease caused by dentist…

Submitted By: Angelyne (Cincinnati, Ohio)

In August 2011, my dentist placed two porcelain covered metal crowns on teeth number 18 and 19. After placement of the crowns, I experienced chronic progressive gingivitis/gum inflammation and gum bleeding around the restorations. This problem was especially apparent when I attempted to floss around those teeth.

I had no idea what was wrong until a visit to another dentist revealed the cause of the problem. Essentially, my dentist violated the biologic width of teeth 18 and 19 when he improperly placed the two crowns. This invasion of the biologic periodontal space initiated periodontal disease, with a five-millimeter pocket formation.

Decay also developed under my gums due to my inability to clean the area. The crowns were too close to the bone, which was causing everything to pull away from it.

As a result, I have experienced several years of gum pain, inflammation, and bleeding because I initially had no idea what was wrong. When my new dentist removed the crowns, she had to remove cement from under my gums, which was aggravating the irritation. She even asked me if I had my dental work done abroad – that’s how bad it was.

Additionally, I had to undergo surgical crown lengthening. The dentist drilled my teeth to such tiny nubs that I needed to have my gums pushed down extensively. When I place my tongue on both sides of the inside of my mouth, it feels deformed because the new dentist had to do so much to reveal more tooth (so that the new crowns don’t get close to the bone).

I also had to replace the two restorations with new ones. In addition, I will suffer from lifetime gingivitis issues around the restorations, as told by my dentist. According to her, my “gums will never be the same.”

To date, my total out-of-pocket expenses are roughly $6,000, which includes the original crown work ($1,000), the crown lengthening surgery ($2,000), and two new crowns ($3,000). This does not include the periodontal disease that this dentist initiated, nor does it include the future costs and efforts on my behalf to deal with the lifetime gingival problems around these two teeth.

I intend to seek compensation for my total out-of-pocket costs. However, I don’t know how to deal with the permanent damage to my gums. How much compensation am I entitled to? What about costs that I will incur in the future in order to deal with the gingivitis problem? Any perspective you can give would be 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.

Answer

Dear Angelyne,

You state, “I intend to seek compensation for my total out-of-pocket costs.” That implies you are going to make a demand upon the dentist to reimburse you. That is certainly a reasonable request. Unfortunately, the dentist may not agree with you and will likely refuse. To do so would be an implied, if not overt admission of dental malpractice.

Your next step would be to file a complaint with the Ohio State Dental Board. To access the proper procedure for filing a complaint go to the Ohio Dental Board website

Because of the seriousness of your claim, and the high probability the dentist will strongly refute any claims of wrongdoing, your next step would be to seek the advice and counsel of several personal injury attorneys in your area. Fortunately, most injury attorneys do not charge for initial office consultations.

Contact the dentists and ask for copies of all your dental records, including x-rays, dental narratives, and all other supporting documentation. Also make copies of all your receipts for the dental bills you have paid to date, and receipts for all of the out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the dentist’s alleged wrongdoing.

Bring all that documentation to each attorney’s office. After reviewing your medical bills, dental narratives, etc., the attorneys will be able to give you a better idea of the viability of your claim and the chances of success.

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: June 15, 2017

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