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  1. #1

    Unhappy Dentist Removed the Wrong Tooth

    My question involves medical malpractice in the state of: Florida
    So, I work on a cruise ship and the doctor on board sent me to the dentist because I had a tooth that was falling to pieces. Their insurance covers extractions and fillings only. So, the doc said I must have this molar pulled because its not repairable. So, he takes out a tooth and an hour later when I pull out the gauze I realize he took out the WRONG tooth. We removed the tooth directly next to the one needing to be removed. Leaving a rotting tooth in my head. I went back to his office and he was disturbed by the mistake and offered to pay for an implant. I haven't yet gotten anything in writing but I'm trying to draw up a contract right now and I don't want to leave out anything...
    I am at sea so seeing a lawyer is quite difficult. Also I finish my ship contract in 3 weeks and the dentist said it takes at least 5 weeks for the bone to heal. So, I will be traveling after this contract and that means I'll have to see a dentist of my own choosing where ever I am... I'm worried about making sure he keeps his end of the bargain even though I cant visit his office anymore.
    PLEASE if you have advice help me!!

    P.S. This is a professional dentist who has been in practice for 32 years.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Dentist Removed the Wrong Tooth

    If you are satisfied with the outcome of having the dentist install an implant, it's a reasonable outcome. Losing a tooth is not a "big money" claim. You're trying to put together a contract, but do you have anything in writing as of yet that would confirm any form of understanding or agreement?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Key West, FL
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    Default Re: Dentist Removed the Wrong Tooth

    Seriously, no attorney is going to take a malpractice case for pulling the wrong tooth. I know it is a pain, literally, but there simply is not enough in the way of damages.

    The best outcome is to have the dentist remove the bad tooth and provide you with TWO implants at no charge and on a schedule that is agreeable to you. That should be okay with him as he certainly does not want a claim on his insurance, or even the insurer finding out about it, nor any complaints to dental boards. That is a pretty careless mistake and might open up a can of worms. The materials are not that much, so it is just his time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    102

    Default Re: Dentist Removed the Wrong Tooth

    oh dear,

    I am sorry that type of mistake is inexcusable...I think putting in an implant is not enough...as there is pain & suffering & implants can be a lifetime of misery.

    it may not be a 7 figure settlement...but I think it is at least worth decent $$$ & the implant.

    the dentist has insurance to cover this sort carelessness..

    you need to retain an attorney quick & the good news you can do this from out at sea...please take pictures, take notes & obtain records to document..

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    14

    Default Re: Dentist Removed the Wrong Tooth

    Hi Mike, first of all I am sorry this has happened to you. I will first let you know I am a dentist and I do place dental implants. It is unfortunate the doctor pulled out the wrong tooth and after his 32 years of experience as you can see it can happen to any dentist.

    If legal action is what you want that is your option as birdwillow put. It does seem reasonable this dentist is willing to replace your tooth with an implant which is quite costly. If I were addressing your contract which is your actual question, not whether you should seek legal action or not here are the things I would include:

    Not only placement of the implant but payment for the restoration of the crown as well. Not many people realize that having the implant placed and getting the tooth on top are different procedures.

    Secondly any type of bone augmentation which may be needed. I don't know which tooth he took but it seems no bone graft was placed which may lead to bone graft being needed during or before placement.

    If you have the time it would truly be best to get a consult with a specialist who will outline any extra procedures you may need to get the implant site ready for placement. Sometimes it's not as easy as simply screwing in a new tooth. I hope this helps. Out of curiosity you said he did not take out the apparent rotted tooth but took out the one beside it. So what condition exactly did this one beside it look like?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Dentist Removed the Wrong Tooth

    exinferous makes good points about how complete your settlement agreement should be.

    The idea that losing a tooth is worth lots of money? Courts and juries don't see it that way. Even in the days before implants, the response was largely, "it can be fixed with a denture or bridge." The high cost of litigating a malpractice claim makes an actual dental malpractice lawsuit unlikely absent serious injury - such as a negligently caused nerve injury causing partial facial paralysis.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    102

    Default Re: Dentist Removed the Wrong Tooth

    A good point was made about..what condition was the tooth that was removed?

    Could it be that Both teeth needed to be removed?

    IF a healthy tooth removed by mistake, I think you need to be compensated properly...including the implant & crown surgery , & pain & suffering & any legal costs...

    I would get an attorney Or at least consult w/one.

    It may not be a high dollar case.... but gee wiz,, I am sorry..that is no excuse to let them get away with this mistake & you to suffer even more

    I also doubt it would go to trial ,I think the insurance would quickly settle A modest amount enough to cover your damages

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    14

    Default Re: Dentist Removed the Wrong Tooth

    From a medical standpoint one thing I would caution about if you choose to take legal action is the timeframe. Bone is not a static material. Once your body realizes a tooth has been removed the bone may remodel because it is no longer needed to hold the tooth in. The longer this may take the more bone may disappear thus making secondary bone augmentation surgery more likely and possibly more aggressive.
    It is not a certainty but the longer it takes it becomes a much stronger possibility.

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