Sometimes, an isolated incident of dental medical negligence can cascade into a horrible situation which ends in permanent injury or even death. As happened in another case that an out-of state law firm handled, clients have gone for treatment for what would be considered a routine dental procedure such as treatment for chronic decay around and under a crown (Note: this is usually caused by the crown margins not being sealed properly). In a case like this, the general dentist will remove the crown and the post (which is used to provide stability to the crown), removed the decay, and then reinstall the post and crown to complete this, very common and non-complex treatment.
However, in the above-mentioned case according to the attorneys who prosecuted the case, the dentist performing this procedure did not use the same pilot hole when installing the new post. Instead, he drilled a second pilot hole, which was drilled on an angle, resulting in perforation of the tooth. A perforation is dangerous because it almost always leads to tooth loss and/or infection.
As a result of drilling at a crooked angle, the risk of perforating the wall of the tooth was increased dramatically, which is what happened. The dentist placed the new post into the new post hole, and because of the perforation, the tip of the new post was seated in the jawbone (maxilla). In other words, the dentist drilled right through the tooth and then place the post in the hole which was coming out of the tooth (clearly, treatment that is below the standard of care for a number of reasons). This perforation of the tooth lead to an infection which lasted for several months. During this time the patient complained of pain and swelling which the dentist negligently dismissed as irritation from the new crown and did nothing to address the perforation, possible infection or other possible sources of the increased pain. The patient was eventually referred to a specialist about 4 months after the crown post was negligently seated, who performed a Cone Beam CT scan (3d x-ray of the tooth), diagnosed the condition as a perforation and extracted the tooth.