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Missed Diagnosis Caused Him Unnecessary Pain and Trauma


Missed Diagnosis Caused Him Unnecessary Pain and Trauma

Posted by writeradmin

I’ve recently had a nightmare of a dental visit and would love some advice from someone not in the area. I had my lower left back molar began to be sensitive to cold beverages and was sensitive even when I just touched it. I was new to this town so went to a dentist who does a lot of advertising. He said one of my wisdom teeth, which is partially impacted, needed to be extracted but that a filling should fix the issue. I went ahead and did the filling. Just a couple of days later the original tooth started hurting like crazy. I went back and he adjusted the filling and my bite some. He also provided me with a prescription for antibiotics. That didn’t really help much so he suggested we pull the wisdom tooth. I did suggest to my dentist the pain felt deeper and I really didn’t think it was the wisdom tooth, but he insisted it was. I went to the oral surgeon who pulled the tooth. I had some relief until the antibiotics ran out and then the whole side of that face swelled up and the pain was worse than ever. The dentist gave me antibiotics again.

The next day, out of desperation, I went to the ER. They told me that they could see an abscess on the tooth that I originally went in for help. So, I went back to the dentist and told him what the ER said. He then referred me to an endodontist. However, they couldn’t see me for almost a month. I went back to the oral surgeon who confirmed the infection and said at this point it just needs to be extracted. I’m so frustrated. I’ve been in massive pain for quite some time and have now lost two teeth that I feel confident could have been saved. Not to mention the excessive cost of all these unnecessary appointments and procedures. Do I have any recourse for this?


Dear Ben,

man grabbing his jaw in pain and in need of an emergency dentist

I am so sorry this happened to you. Yes, you absolutely have recourse here. This is gross negligence on the part of your dentist. Here is what I want you to tell him he owes you: The extra visits you had to have, the oral surgeon’s bill, the E.R.’s bill, and the cost of the dental implant and crown that will be necessary to replace your missing molar.

If he balks, here are the list of things you can tell him he did wrong:

First, your symptoms were an obvious infection. When you have sensitivity to cold as well as pain to the touch it is as clear an indication that the tooth will need a root canal treatment that I’ve ever seen. This is especially true since he did an x-ray. The only other real sign he could have had was a visible abscess, which was there at some point as well, or the tooth jumping up and down with a sign that said, “Please remove my infected pulp.”

Your second appointment brought a second misdiagnosis. He did a filling that was giving you pain and he adjusts the bite and gives you antibiotics? The antibiotics tell me he must have at least suspected there was an infection somewhere. He also should have known that antibiotics do not cure a tooth infection, further treatment was needed. If he doesn’t like doing root canal treatments, he should have referred you to an endodontist. Instead, he just left you in pain.

By the third appointment, you have swelling and are now facing a dental emergency. There is no way he could miss it so he finally sends you to the root canal specialist, who couldn’t see you in a timely manner, yet your dentist just left you to suffer.

This is a malpractice case if I’ve ever seen one. You could go directly to a lawyer, but I would give him a chance to do the right thing and pay for everything I mentioned above. Make sure he understands that YOU will choose the implant dentist, not him. If he gives you a hard time tell him you’ll be filling a suit and now you can add in money for pain and suffering too.

This blog is brought to you by Mt. Dora Dentist Dr. Michelle Stillman.