How can I prove my dentist caused damages while working on me? 21 Answers as of February 20, 2012

During the removal of my wisdom teeth a student dentist broke an instrument off in my gum and now the piece does not show on x rays. Should I worry that it will show up some place later and cause problems?

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David F. Stoddard
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
I don't know. You would have to ask a dentist that question.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 7/28/2011
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
If the piece broke off inside your jaw the xray should show it. I do not think a piece of metal can move around the body If you have doubts, have another xray done. Equipment breaks often. That is not necessarily negligence.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 7/27/2011
Coulter's Law
Coulter's Law | Coulter K. Richardson
This is not really a legal question. Ask your dentist to account for the missing piece. If he/she cannot, demand that they pay for an MRI. And an additional x-ray. In all likelihood it went down your esophagus and into your stomach. It will be ejected during the normal course of your bodies processes. A man once cut up an entire Cesna airplane and ate it piece by piece. Your body can safely pass a lot of stuff. Check your lungs as well in case it went down your wind pipe. An MRI might find something that is not metal.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 7/27/2011
Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates
Lyle B. Masnikoff and Associates | Lyle B. Masnikoff
Go to another dentist and see if they find anything wrong. You likely won't have a medical malpractice case as there will not be enough damages
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/27/2011
Law Office of Jared Altman
Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
If it does not show on an x-ray then it almost certainly is not there. You could always go to a second dentist go repeat x-rays to confirm.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/27/2011
    LT Pepper Law
    LT Pepper Law | Luke T. Pepper
    You should have another dentist take a look at it to see if the piece is still there. There are risks of infection, and stroke when a foreign object is left after surgery. There could be case here if there is evidence that the piece of the instrument was left in following the surgery.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Allen Murphy Law
    Allen Murphy Law | W. Riley Allen
    If it does not show up now, it's not likely to magically show up later. I would not as a specialist in this area take this case.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You should consult with another dentist.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A.
    Ewusiak & Roberts, P.A. | Christopher J. Roberts
    I think this is more of a medical question as opposed to a legal question, at least at this point. My first inquiry to you would be how you know the instrument broke, and what you believe happened to the broken piece. Do you think it was swallowed and if so, could it have passed through you? Is it possible you simply spit it out or that the student was able to recover it? What did the dentist and/or the student say about the broken piece? If you have reason to think the broken piece is lodged in your gums or elsewhere in your body and that it could cause future complications, you could try to find another dentist and/or doctor who could try to help you determine what happened to the piece. A lawyer in your area could potentially help you find a local physician to help determine where you should go from here. Also, if you feel you've been injured as a result of the incident and/or you incurred expenses, a lawyer can help you recover your losses. Instruments generally should not break during ordinary procedures such as wisdom tooth removal, so if you suffered an injury you probably have a valid claim. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 2/20/2012
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
    Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
    Every personal injury case has two main components: (1) liability and (2) damages. While the student dentist may have committed an error while working on you, the question is what are your damages? If nothing shows up on x-rays and theres no other evidence of injury, there are no damages and thus no case. If at some point down the road the piece of metal shows up elsewhere in your body, then the statute of limitations may run at that point from the date of discovery, but there could be an argument that you should have been diligent at this point to ascertain if the instrument is in fact somewhere else in your body. The other issue you may have is that I would imagine that you signed some type of consent form with multiple waivers. This may fall outside the waivers and consent if the student was truly negligent in causing the instrument to break, but you would have to look at the language of the consent form to see what you really waived.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    The only thing you can do is go to another dentist and ask him (or her) that same question.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
    The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
    In order to be successful with any damages claim, you must have proof that damages resulted due to the negligence of another party. If there is no evidence to support the claim that there was negligence or that the negligence resulted in damages, then you may not have a successful case. Make sure you consult another dentist to determine if any damages resulted due to the broken instrument in your gum.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C.
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. | Steven A. Schwartz
    If the piece is no longer showing up on x-ray, I think there is a good chance that the piece is no longer in your mouth. If the piece cannot be located using the usual methods (x-ray), then I don't see how you are going to prove there is a problem. If you experience problems in the future, and the offending piece can be found at that time, then you will have your evidence.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney
    Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
    This depends on what procedure you were having. Dental file type tools do break during root canal procedures and are generally contained inside the tooth. If this is what happened it is not usually a problem. Other instruments I am not sure about. I do not have enough facts to really advise you.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    I suggest getting a second opinion from a different dentist.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.
    The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. | Josh Lamborn
    If you are not suffering any damages at this time and investigative tools such as X-rays do not show that there is a problem, you really do not have a civil claim. In order to win a civil case there must be some negligence (student breaks instrument in your mouth) plus resulting damage suffered (cut gums or broken tooth). If you are concerned that you may have suffered damages or that you may in the future due to a piece of the tool lodged somewhere in your body, you should consult with a different dentist or doctor so that there is no potential for conflict of interest on the part of the person looking. If that person fails to see any problems there is little else that you can do. I cannot advise you as to whether or not you should worry about it, that is a question better left for a psychologist.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    See another Dentist as soon as possible for second opinion and exam.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
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