They tell you that you are supposed to see them twice a year but what they do not tell you is that sometimes that visit might leave you very injured. Dentists’ offices come with a lot of the same punch that doctors’ office do so it should come as no surprise when similar things go wrong. Check out what happened in these cases:
2015; Florida; $633,000 Jury Award:
A man in his mid 20’s went into the dentist’s office one day to have his wisdom teeth removed, but things did not go smoothly. Instead, the dentist performing the procedure drilled down past the tooth and injured his nerve. This not only caused him significant pain and suffering but also required follow up surgery. The dentist claimed that he did not do this and that even if he did, nerve damage was a known risk of the operation. Despite this knowledge, the jury awarded the patient $633,000 for his damages.
2015; Washington; $985,569:
A dentist in this story preformed an operation on a man in his middle fifties to correct issues related to sleep apnea. During the course of this procedure, the patient developed an infection and the consequences were drastic: permanent nerve damage, loss of feeling in his face, and an inability to produce saliva among others. He needed multiple surgeries to correct these items and required long-term dental care. The patient sued the dentist for malpractice. His suit alleged that the doctor should have monitored and contained the surgery better to avoid the spread of this infection. The dentist retorted that this outcome was beyond his control and that he operated within the proper standard of care. The jury disagreed. They awarded the plaintiff $985,569 for his damages.
2007; Illinois; $750,000 Jury Award:
An older woman in this case visited a dentist’s office to have a crown installed in her mouth. She later discovered that the item was not properly fitted to her mouth and decided to sue for the negligent implantation. The lawsuit also alleged that the dentist failed to diagnose and treat periodontal disease as well as other mouth issues. The treating dentist shot back that the plaintiff took too long to bring the suit and that, even if she did not wait too long, his treatment was proper and sufficient to meet the requisite standard of care. However, faced with the facts that the crown did not fit the woman’s mouth and it caused her great pain, the jury had no choice but to find for the plaintiff for $750,000 in the following manner:
- Medical Costs:
- Pain and suffering:
- Loss of Normal Life:
- Future Pain:
2015; Oregon; $950,000 Settlement:
This case is an example of something that could have been prevented with proper supervision. A 30-year-old woman went to the dentist’s office to have a tooth removed. The operating doctor had only been out of school for a couple of months, less than a year! Also, he was supposed to have a supervising doctor monitor his work on the woman. This did not happen. The older doctor was never present during the procedure. The new dentist proceeded on his own and, unfortunately, damaged the woman’s jaw and surrounding nerves.She was left with permanent disabilities including loss of sensation in her face and an inability to completely control her mouth. She sued the dentists but they denied acted unreasonably or that their actions were the cause of her injuries. At trial, she demanded over $7,000,000 in damages but when it came time to settling and moving on from this incident, she eventually settled for $950,000.
2013; Illinois; $420,000 Jury Award:
In this case, a woman cried foul after visiting a dentist on a number of occasions. She alleged that her treating dentist should have recognized that she had periodontal disease. He did not and she contended that this miss caused her gum, teeth, and bone injuries. The dentist denied that he was at all responsible for the progression of this disease. He originally said that her problems stemmed from diabetes but then switched and said that they came from her smoking. It might have been due to this equivocation that the jury sided with the plaintiff. They awarded her $420,000 but also gave her 18% of the responsibility for the events; thus, her recovery was reduced to $344,400.
2005; Illinois; $337,250 Jury Award:
The patient in this story suffered from a toothache so he went to the dentist’s office. Finding an abscess, the dentist decided to remove the tooth in question. All went well until a few days later when the patient felt incredible pain in the area and had uncontrollable drooling. For these injuries as well as nerve damage and loss of taste, he sued the dentist for malpractice. The suit stated that the doctor negligently performed the tooth removal and provided deficient post-operative instructions. The defendant dentist only admitted that he pulled the tooth, and nothing else. Thus, the jury was left with the decision of deciding who was at fault. They chose the dentist and gave the plaintiff $337, 250 for the following damages:
- Medical Expenses:
- Loss of Normal Life:
- Pain and suffering: