No one really enjoys going to the dentist. Even a basic treatment of teeth cleaning can be uncomfortable and even painful. The process of poking and prodding around for cavities and periodontal disease is also uncomfortable and painful. Even just the thought of having to get a tooth drilled is enough to make people avoid the dentist for years until the pain is unbearable.
One of the more painful and anxiety provoking procedures at the dentist’s office is having a tooth pulled or extracted. Commonly this is done to the wisdom teeth, but it can be other teeth which have become compromised. Even with all of the local anesthesia and laughing gas, there can still be pain and discomfort with an extraction. The after care is also very painful and can hurt as the socket heals and hardens.
The only thing worse than hearing that you need to have a tooth pulled is that the wrong tooth was pulled from you. That is right! Sometimes a dentist will accidentally pull the wrong tooth. This takes a healthy tooth out of a person’s mouth and leaves the damaged tooth in place. This requires a second tooth extraction to get the worse tooth out as well, doubling the pain and suffering.
Pulling the wrong tooth can happen for a number of reasons. This could be when the dentist miscounts the decayed or compromised tooth on the x-ray and then miscounts the tooth in the mouth, or vice versa. This could also occur when the dentist goes to pull the right tooth but, due to visibility and the small space within the mouth to operate, sets up on the wrong tooth to extract.
When a dentist pulls the wrong tooth, many times this is the type of medical malpractice claim that does not require an expert to opine there is medical malpractice. This is because a layperson can tell the difference, in most instances, that the wrong tooth was pulled. The same is true when a physician operates on the wrong side of the body or on the wrong site, or even on the wrong patient. These are obvious cases of medical malpractice which do not require an expert to establish the standard of care. The best practice would still be to get an expert, but it is not always necessary.
When dentists pull the wrong tooth and commit dental malpractice, the victim is allowed to recover compensation for his or her injuries, the extra pain and suffering, and the value of a tooth, and the damage to any of the surrounding tissue or bone structure. This includes any damage to nerves.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected]practicelaw.com. You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.