Do I have a case for dental malpractice if a foreign object was taken out of my mouth and the dentist who did it won’t return my calls? 2 Answers as of December 05, 2016

I went to a local dentist where I was told that I needed an immediate root canal after breaking off a piece of my tooth. The procedure was several hours long with the dentist leaving me alone in pain for 20 minutes at a time to do something else. X-rays were taken before, during and after. I left in extreme discomfort and pain (which lasted for days). I've had several root canals and never have they been painful let alone to this severity. A few days went by after the procedure and I called for my follow up visit regarding a crown. No one answered. I called several times before being directed to a voicemail box and leaving a message. My call was never returned. Over the next week, I called numerous times. The phone was either not answered, disconnected, or my messages were unanswered. Since I was still in pain, I consulted another dentist for my crown. He took an X-ray and saw that a foreign object was left in my canal and that the root canal was not completed but still had been filled. He recommended that I see a specialist before moving forward to confirm the prior dentist had done something wrong. Unfortunately, it was difficult for me to take off even more work and before I could see the specialist, the pain was too much so I went back to the second dentist today. He removed the filling only in the canal with the foreign body, he noted it was extremely infected and that indeed something was left behind by the former dentist. As he is unable to remove it otherwise due to its location, surgery is the only option. I have an appointment to confirm his findings with the specialist this week before moving forward. I'm in a lot of pain, I'm out over a grand, and I have had to take off several days of work because of this. The dentist that did the procedure has yet to return my call. Do I have a case?

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Candiano Law Office
Candiano Law Office | Charles J. Candiano
Dental cases are simply not viable because of the extremely low damages and that fact that there is no permanent injury.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 12/5/2016
Law Offices of Henry Repay
Law Offices of Henry Repay | Henry Repay
You have a case, but it is too early to assess whether it is worth pursuing. Dental malpractice, unfortunately, is seldom pursued because the cases involve complexity and an insurer willing to provide a lengthy defense, with damages that (as painful and inconvenient as they may be) usually do not warrant the work that a attorney would need to put into the claim. There are a few attorneys I would consider that have experience in these types of cases, but you should continue the recommended course of treatment to remove the object and get copies of the records from the two new dentists before arranging a prompt appointment. Have the surgeon retain the object for you and ask for a treatment plan going forward. Keep a brief journal of your appointments and how the treatment is limiting your life activities (such as having to take several days off work, missing children's activities.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 12/5/2016
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