Can I sue my dentist for negligence? 31 Answers as of May 28, 2013

I went to the dentist for a regular appointment where I got x-rays and was told all my wisdom teeth needed to come out and that I had 2 cavities on the right side of my mouth. My appointment was scheduled for the next month but at a different location supposedly where the oral surgent was. On the day of my appointment the dentist asked which tooth do I want out first. I replied, "I don't know." He said, "Well which is giving you the most trouble?" I replied, "the bottom right," so that's the one he pulled. It felt like he was gonna break my jaw with all the pulling, drilling and sawing. To make a long story short I ended up at the ER because the tooth was infected. He pulled it 7/23/12. I went to the er 7/27/12 because I could no longer take the excruciating pain & sleepless nights. The antibiotic he prescribed did nothing to relieve it. Did he follow proper procedure?

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R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
Medical malpractice cases in the great State of Washington are governed by statutes. RCW 7.70. (http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=7.70). The main question is usually whether the health care provider failed to follow the accepted standard of care in the field. RCW 7.70.030. There can also be causes of action for health care providers making promises they didn't fulfill, or acting without the informed consent of the patient. These cases are extremely difficult and require the testimony of an expert witness. Miller V. Jacoby, 102 Wn. App. 256 (2000).

Doctors are trained to work cooperatively (unlike lawyers who are trained to be adversarial), so doctors are often reluctant to testify against each other.

Doctors who are willing to testify as expert witness usually charge significant quantities of money to do so, and often must be flown in from out of State.

Only a small percentage of victims of medical malpractice make a claim, and of those that do, only about 20% ever get any money to compensate them.

Nonetheless, sometimes justice requires assigning responsibility and accountability where it is due.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/20/2012
Law Office of Melvin Franke | Melvin Franke
Contact a dental malpractice specialist.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/20/2012
David F. Stoddard
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
Your last question, "Did he follow proper procedure?" is a dental question that should be posed to a dentist.

The first question. "Can I sue my dentist for negligence?" depends on the answer to the last question.

In addition to getting an opinion from a dentist as to whether your dentist was negligent, you really need to have some permanent injury caused by the negligence for a suit to be worthwhile.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 8/20/2012
James M. Osak, P.C.
James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
YES. You can sue but you'll have to PROVE your case.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/20/2012
Stephens Gourley & Bywater | David A. Stephens
I have no idea if he followed proper procedure. Another dentist would have to tell you that. You can sue a dentist for malpractice.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 8/20/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Only another oral surgeon would know.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/20/2012
    Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
    Certainly. However you need to prove dental negligence. That requires a dental expert.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/20/2012
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    I don't know and neither do you. but if the tooth were infected (abcess) it needed attention. I don't know that you can blame him for the infection or the pain. See you another dentist for an opinion.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 8/20/2012
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    You should consult with a plaintiff's medical malpractice lawyer for specific legal advice and direction with an examination of your dental records. Your stated facts are insufficient to determine whether there is negligence on the part of the dentist who pulled your teeth.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 8/20/2012
    Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
    In order to have a viable malpractice claim against the dentist you would have to show that his actions were below the acceptable standard of care. This would be done with the help of an expert witness. An attorney specializing in dental malpractice would be able to help you better evaluate this potential claim.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/20/2012
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    Dental malpractice cases are always difficult to prove, as well as expensive and time consuming. Extractions necessarily include a possibility of complications, including pain and infection. It would take an oral surgeon to state whether or not the one who pulled your tooth followed correct procedure, and to do that he would need to read all of the medical and dental records, including x-rays.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/20/2012
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    Only a dentist can answer that question, sorry.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/20/2012
    Paris Blank LLP
    Paris Blank LLP | Irving M Blank
    You need a dentist to put in writing that first dentist was negligent.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/19/2012
    Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
    You can certainly file a lawsuit, but you will have to have another dentist be willing and able to testify that the procedure your dentist followed violated the standard of practice in your area. The suit would be very expensive and your damages- pain etc . would more than likely not justify the cost of a lawsuit.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 5/28/2013
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 5/28/2013
    Downriver Injury and Auto Law | Michael Heilmann
    It is impossible to determine from your description. You will need to get all the records and submit them to a dentist. In Michigan it is necessary to find an expert before one can file a complaint. If that individual finds negligence then one can go ahead to follow the procedure to file a suit.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Bruce Plesser | Bruce Plesser
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 5/28/2013
    Lehner & Rodrigues | Michael A Lehner
    In order to pursue a claim against the dentist you will need testimony from another dentist who can provide expert testimony that the care given to you did not meet the standard of care expected of a dentist doing this type of work. The information you have given is not sufficient to determine if the dentist did anything wrong. Your infection may have come from something the dentist did or it could have come from poor hygiene on your part or from something you ate. The infection may not have been the fault of anyone but may be a normal risk of this type of surgery. If your infection has now resolved and you have no further symptoms, the value of your potential suit may not justify the expense you would incur to prove your case.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    This will be a tough case because extreme pain following the extraction of teeth is not uncommon. So is an infection. You will need another dentist (an expert) to attest that your dentist performed below the standard of care.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Dressler & Peters, LLC | John Wagener
    Yes, you can sue your dentist for negligence as anyone that can pay the filing fee is entitled to bring a lawsuit. Medical malpractice actions typically require an affidavit certifying that you have a meritorious claim as part of the initial complaint filings. Whether you can obtain such an affidavit may indicate if your claim has any merit.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Ronald G. Draper | Ronald G. Draper
    Without analysis of your records from that dentist no answer can be given of negligence or not. Consult a lawyer with the records. You have a right to all of your records.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Frank Law Group, P.C.
    Frank Law Group, P.C. | David E. Frank
    You really need the opinion of another dentist (preferably one who has testified as an expert witness in dental malpractice case) as to whether your dentist performed in accordance with the standard of care for dentists performing the same kind of procedure as your dentist performed on you. In Ca. there is a two year statute of limitation within which you must file your malpractice lawsuit-two years from the date of the procedure performed by your dentist.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Mike Yeksavich | Mike Yeksavich
    It will take another dentist to answer whether your dentist did the correct procedure.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Offices of Lee and Baghoomian, P.C.
    Law Offices of Lee and Baghoomian, P.C. | Joseph Lee
    You would need an attorney to review the files but it sounds like you may have a claim.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Victor Varga | Victor Varga
    Speak with a dental malpractice attorney. Note that you will need an expert in the field to support your position of negligence.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Lapin Law Offices
    Lapin Law Offices | Jeffrey Lapin
    I cannot answer whether you have case against the oral surgeon (the person who pulled your tooth) without more information as I am not an oral surgeon. I understand you developed an infection but has anyone indicated why you developed the infection? Was it because the extraction was done wrong? Should the oral surgeon have done something differently? Is an infection a known risk after an extraction? To determine whether you have a case another oral surgeon would have to be willing to testify that the first oral surgeon did something wrong that caused your infection and pain. Without that, there would be no way for you to prove your case. I would suggest contacting an attorney to learn more about your rights and what evidence you would need to have a case.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C.
    DEAN T. JENNINGS, P.C. | Dean T Jennings
    You need to retain an expert to obtain that opinion as to whether or not the dentist has breached the standard of care. I have handled a number of dental negligence cases and on the facts that you have told me I don't have enough information to evaluate your potential claim.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
    Unfortunately, I can not advise you as to whether he followed proper procedure. Only another dentist can tell you that. As far as suing him for negligence, what are your damages other than pain for several days? If you wish to discuss your case more, please feel free to contact my office.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Conway Law Pllc.
    Conway Law Pllc. | B. L. Conway
    Yep: It is a Complex Issue though: It requires an Independent Dental Review by a Doc in the same field. You can also file a complaint with the Board of Dentistry and they will review his conduct. In any event, Your lawyer must have a review in his file before filing suit.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/15/2012
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