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Potential legal action against negligent dentist?

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Old 01-31-2013, 11:43 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: South Africa
Posts: 5
j9insa HB User
Potential legal action against negligent dentist?

Hi everyone

I had my wisdom tooth removed by a dentist recently and it was a horrible experience. I was wondering if anyone had a similar experience and whether you think I could have a lawsuit against the dentist (who in my opinion was negligent). I'll state the reasons why I say this below:

1. I had 3 of my wisdom teeth extracted under general anesthesia about 3 weeks ago. After the procedure, the dentist never left me a prescription or came to see me. I was not given any post-op instructions and didnt' received any communication about how the procedure went
2. I tried over the counter pain killers for 3 days, but the pain was so intense (particularly in the 2 extractions sites at the bottom) that I decided the mail the dentist, asking if the pain was normal and if there were any complications during surgery
3. His reply was that the pain could be due to the fact that my bottom teeth were mesio-angularly impacted, and the fact that the over-the-counter painkillers were not sufficient for pain associated with wisdom tooth surgery (which made me wonder why I didn't get a perscription in the first place). He didn't make an appointment with me or suggest that I come in for one, he just left the perscription with his receptionist
4. He perscribed me some painkillers (cataflam and mybulen) as well as some antibiotics. When I collected the perscription from the pharmacy, they noticed that the antibiotics contained pennicillen to which I am allergic! This was also clearly indicated on my patient file as well as the forms I had to fill in at the day clinic. They pharmacist gave the Doctor a call and he perscribed a different antibiotic
5. As soon as I finished his percription, the pain was back (and still excruciating!). I was worried and went to another dentist for a second opinion. They took some x-rays and I was shocked to discover that a very large root was left behind in the bottom left socket! I also had "dry socket" in the bottom right side
6. The dentist said that the root would have to be removed (in fact, it was really more like half a tooth than a root), and he referred me to an oral surgeon. He also gave me more antibiotics and painkillers
7. The oral surgeon has now extracted the root and treated the infection. He agreed that it was unacceptable for the root te be left in there, and particularly bad that I was not told about it. I am now on my 3rd course of antibioticis. The pain has (thank goodness!) subsided but their is stil a lot of pus coming from the wound, so I'm going back to see the oral surgeon on Monday to have it checked out
8. I sent an e-mail to the first dentist (the one who performed the extraction) demanding answers and asking him to cover the costs I had to pay for the oral surgeon. He basically brushed me off, saying that he left the root in because he didn't want to cause nerve damage. He is basically denying that he was negligent at all!

So my question is this: Do I have a case against this dentist? I really feel that I was treated poorly throughout this process. I have gone through a lot of pain in the last 3 weeks, which has affected my work and personal life. I also had to pay a lot of additional fees for the extra perscription medication, consultation fees, x-rays as well as the oral surgeon's fees. The other dentist as well as the oral surgeon agrees that I was given poor treatment, but I don't want to place them in the uncomfortable position of putting this in writing. I really don't think that I received the medical treatment that I was supposed to! Some advice or even sharing of similar experiences would be much appreciated! Thanks!

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Old 02-01-2013, 01:14 AM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 400
riptoff HB Userriptoff HB Userriptoff HB Userriptoff HB Userriptoff HB Userriptoff HB User
Re: Potential legal action against negligent dentist?

You certainly have a case against the dentist who carried out the first extraction. To leave a piece of tooth behind is not negligent in itself but not to inform you certainly is.
The after care seems negligent also.
I don't know the dental registration body in SA but that should be your first port of call.

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Old 02-01-2013, 01:24 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: South Africa
Posts: 5
j9insa HB User
Re: Potential legal action against negligent dentist?

Hi riptoff, thanks for the reply. It helps to know that someone agrees with me - especially since his reply I've been wondering if I'm being unreasonable, but it just seems that he was negligent with the aftercare, especially since he didn't even tell me about the root (even when I asked him about any complications). I think I'm going to lodge a complaint against him at the medical and dental board of SA (hpcsa). Thanks!

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complications, lawsuit, wisdom tooth extraction

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