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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 116780
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Customer Question


Hi, and my apologies for the length.

But, I'm a 66 yo senior citizen with several serious chronic health issues who had first been seen approx 5 1/2 yrs ago by a dentist. At that time, I had recently undergone a root canal on a tooth, needed a crown put on top, and was referred to a Prosthodontist. At the time, I thought that he had done a decent job with that (gold) crown and was also "ethical."

So, when, following a dental exam and x-rays a few months later, he recommended substantial additional dental work, despite the fact that all my teeth felt "fine," I agreed. His work consisted of two new all-porcelain crowns (to replace old hybrid crowns), a porcelain inlay, and three composite fillings- for approx $6,000 in 2011. And, although his prices were higher than average, due to my serious health conditions, I decided that it would be worth the extra cost for the "higher quality" care (more careful work and better "infection control") and materials (crown/inlay) that the Prosthodontist claimed that he could offer.

Yet, upon commencing that dental work, in August, 2011, he seemed to be doing everything in a big hurry, and, despite his promises, seemed to completely disregard my concerns about infection-- forcing me to have to repeatedly remind him to pull his mask up over his mouth and nose and to not put "dirty" hands into my open mouth. And, he seemed to be ridiculing me to his staff about my concerns...

And, when I returned two weeks later, without warning me in advance, he quickly permanently cemented the inlay into my mouth and temporarily cemented the two porcelain crowns in place-- but, when I returned home, and ate some ice cream, I realized that, for the first time ever, the back left part of my mouth (where those two crowns and inlay had been placed) was now very "cold sensitive."

And, when I called the Prosthodontists office the following day, I was told that that wasn't unusual and should resolve in a few days... However, the "cold sensitivity" to foods and beverages continued to some degree for a couple of years.

Fortunately, aside from continuing to get regular dental cleanings since then, I hadn't needed any dental work performed until 11 days ago-- when, based on an exam in July, the Prosthodontist did a prep to replaced a different (gold) crown with another gold crown.

And, before doing so, I had spoken at length with the Prosthodontist's office mgr and other staff members regarding my legitimate concerns regarding "infection prevention" due to my now worsened serious medical conditions-- and, even wrote an email to the Prosthodontist to get his assurance that, unlike in 2011, he would make sure that his mouth and nose were completely covered and he would wear sterile gloves and make sure that he would not put "contaminated" gloves inside my mouth (instead change gloves, if necessary)-- thoughout the procedure.

And, also that he would show respect towards me (rather than what had apparently occurred in 2011.)

And, now (finally) for THE LEGAL QUESTIONS: I definitely wasn't feeling very well the day of those procedures, but, I decided that, if I received assurance from the Prosthodontist that, he would absolutely follow my "infection control" (mask and sterile gloves) requests, and also treat me in a respectful manner, I would agree to letting him do the work.

On the other hand, I had made it clear to the Prosthodontist and his staff, that, if he was unwilling to provide that "infection control," I intended to instead go to another dentist for future dental work. Despite my both receiving an email response back from the Prosthodontist shortly before my appointment assuring me of "high level of infection prevention" with the mask and sterile gloves and also that and his staff would treat me with respect and professionalism, and also promising the same after I arrived for the appointment, that's not what occurred.

Instead, in a near repeat of 2011, the Prosthodontist quickly entered the room, and, before I could even check to see if he was wearing the mask and sterile gloves, he hurriedly injected the local anesthetic. And, when I then reminded him that I am very sensitive to the anesthetic and to please use as little as possible, he intentionally injected a lot more of it.

Then, although I asked him to wait, he proceeded to file off my old gold crown. And, when I then looked up, the lightweight mask wasn't covering his nose and he was about to stick his hands back in my mouth despite the fact that he had contaminated his gloves by touching several other things. I then put my hands up and asked him to please change his gloves before proceeding-- and, his assistant claimed that he did change them before finishing.

But, I watched him out of the corner of my eye and don't believe that he did so. Additionally, after the Prosthodontist hurridly finished my crown prep, I heard him in the hall-- ridiculing me to his staff.

And, as I expected, after arriving home from the 90 minute dental work, it took NINE HOURS for the local anesthesia to wear off (the left side of my mouth and face were numb that entire time-- resulting in my repeatedly biting my tongue.)

And, additionally, due likely to his "hurried work," my entire back L tooth area in my mouth is still sore-- 11 days later.

LEGAL QUESTIONS-- I'm scheduled to have to return to his office to have the permanent crown put in.  But, he's putting me in dangers-- of both infection and lousy work on the crown. And, he ridicules me.  As a result, I don't want to allow him to treat me

"alone" in his office ever again.  If I'm by myself, he also won't cover his face or wear clean gloves.  He's very arrogant, uncaring

and "unprofessional" and he and his staff definitely do not follow professional standards of "infection prevention."

I greatly wish that I had not trusted their promises.  And, I was required to pay a very high price for the crown in advance.

WHAT CAN I DO NOW-- to get him to practice professionally regarding my treatment?  Please let me know, ASAP.  Sincerely,


Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

You can bring someone with you to sit in while he treats you, if there is room in the treatment room. Other than that, unless or until you suffer some harm from his treatment where you could sue for malpractice, the only recourse you have is filing a complaint with the state dental board and the state department of health, since they come in and inspect these types of conditions and will check the area as well for sanitation violations.

If you really do not want to go back to him, you have a right to ask for another doctor or you would have to go to a different dentist to get your final crown done and the work completed. So if you do not want to return because of the way he treats you, file your complaint with the state dental board against him as well as the state department of health and they will go in and investigate and you can go look for a new dentist to complete the work.