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Tom B.
Tom B., Barrister & Solicitor
Category: Canada Law
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Experience:  25 years in practice
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A dentist did the wrong procedre, causing two major infections

Customer Question

A dentist did the wrong procedre, causing two major infections (one caused half my mouth to paralyze for a week and the other I have right now), excuiating pain for three months, missed time from work and extra expenses paid out for multiple medications, travel, etc. Would I have malpractice case?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Canada Law
Expert:  Tom B. replied 2 years ago.
HiYes perhaps there is a case for malpractice. Such cases do not pay much on your facts and cause more pain than a dentist however. But, you should contact a lawyer who does medical malpractice and do so as soon as possible as there are very short limitation periods or you lose your claim. Doubtful a lawyer would take it on without some payment and you need to hire another dentist as an expert to testify that the procedures were incorrect. These steps cost money. To start, I would lay a complaint with the Board. If they think something is wrong then your case is magnified. Here is their link to complaints....'t expect a big pay day but keep all receipts about anything involved with this from gas receipts to other dental bills. Let me know if you require more info.Sincerely,Tom
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your response. Here are more of the facts, I wrote this to a lawyer in my area with more detail but this said general question so I didn't want to put too much."I'm looking for some information to see if my issue is worth pursuing or not. About three month ago I had four cavities filled in my front top teeth. I called a week later and said my teeth were extremely sensitive and I couldn't drink or eat anything hot or cold. I was told to wait a couple days because fillings can cause sensitivity. A week later I called back and told them I was in extreme pain. I work in a fridge and freezer five days out of the week and could barely step foot in them without bawling and I still couldn't eat or drink. I went in that day for a check up and they told me to try sensodyne, use that for two weeks and call back if nothing changes. The senodyne made it worse. I was constantly taking advil and Tylenol trying to numb the pain. I called them back after two weeks and made an appointment. When I went in, they finally took another x-ray and I was told one of the teeth they filled should have had a root canal and my nerve was left partly open. Instead of giving me antibiotics for what could have been an infection he started the root canal right away. He started freezing my mouth and it didn't work. He waited five minutes and tried freezing again. I still felt all the pain. He had to do this four times before I finally felt nothing. When he started drilling he hit my nerve and I jumped and started crying because of the pain. He froze my mouth again and said sit still because this will be the most painful part. He finally got the nerve and put the temporary filling in. I woke up the next morning in excruciating pain and half my face was swollen out at least an inch. I went to the hospital and they gave me antibiotics and painkillers. I took them for three days, the swelling went down a little bit but the pain was still there and half my mouth wouldn't move. I called the dentist and he put me on different painkillers and antibiotics. These antibiotics worked for the swelling but half my mouth stay ed paralyzed for a week and a half and the pain decreased enough to get by using both painkillers. I had to use three sick days, a week vacation from work so I could deal with this pain and pay for babysitters because some days were so painful I couldn't get up. I had an appointment two weeks later to get the root canal finished. Due to babysitting issues I had to cancel and they rescheduled almost three weeks later. This whole time even after the infection I still couldn't eat on that side and everything hot or cold I had to drink through a straw. My right side of my lip never went back to normal, almost drooping to the left a little and for someone who hates taking medication I was taking painkillers every four to six hours. At my appointment the dentist asked me how I felt and I told him I was terrified to have this done and didn't want another needle in my mouth. I had become terrified. I was shaking. He asked how my teeth felt and I told him the pain I was still in. He said I had another infection but because of the medication I was just put on for back muscle problems he couldn't give me antibiotics. I finished my back medication last week and Saturday during work I felt pressure in my face, once again holding back tears as I tried to work. Sunday I woke up and my whole upper lip was swollen out and around my nose. I had to call into work and go to the hospital. I once again was put on antibiotics. I have missed days of work, had to use a week of vacation that I didn't enjoy, paid for medication upon medication, paid for babysitters, been in unbelievable amount of pain, have become petrified of the dentist and getting this root canal finished and most importantly have missed time with my four year old son. I have had managers and coworkers and triage nurses say I should speak to a lawyer about compensation so I'm just wondering if this worth going through with or not."This is a little more information for you to better judge the situation. After everything I've read your first answer is what I expected but a little more information can't hurt.I guess another question is if I've maxed out my dental plan with this dentist, and the work he is doing to correct this work is free of charge, can I ask him to have another dentist do it, and if he says no what are my options? I'm beyond scared to have this dentist near my mouth again.Thank you again,
Expert:  Tom B. replied 2 years ago.
It does sound like a hardship. But, to consider the matter from a legal perspective, I suggest you go to another dentist. You need a second opinion. Don't tell the second dentist that you are considering a complaint to the Board or a law suit. That could shut the dentist down and you are looking for information. Just get new advice about what you should do and perhaps what should have been done as opposed to what happened.Law suits are expensive. Even if you get one to take the case on contingency (they take a huge percentage) it costs financially and emotionally. To figure out whether it is worth it requires a second opinion and perhaps later an expert in dentistry.How this works is a lawyer finds out how much future pain and trouble may be involved coupled with the past discomfort. Then the lawyer needs some other professional to state that the standard of care you received was negligent basically. Then, with all that info, we research similar cases to your and see how much courts are awarding. But it still sounds like you need another opinion and then consider a complaint to the Board.Sincerely,Tom
Expert:  Tom B. replied 2 years ago.
Is there anything else I can do for you to get a positive rating?

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