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.
Despite the extraction (which is the correct course of action and compliant with the standard of care), the patient developed and infection within a month of the extraction and wound up needing emergency room and hospital treatment for the infection and suffered, among other things, inner ear damage resulting in vertigo.
As the above situation illustrates so well, the dental malpractice is a dangerous proposition which can lead to catastrophic results, permanent injury and, in severe cases, death. If you have been the victim of suspected dental malpractice and would like to discuss your case, don’t delay.
Robert J. Fleming has been handling dental malpractice, medical malpractice and other negligence cases for individuals and families who have been harmed, injured or died as a result of negligence for almost 25 years. He practices in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area including handling lawsuits in Fulton, DeKalb, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb and other counties and nearby cities such as Alpharetta, Chamblee, College Park, Conyers, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and would like to discuss your case in complete confidence, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.