Do I have a case for dental malpractice if, after having a wisdom tooth extraction done with IV sedation, I woke up with 3-4 stitches at the corner of my mouth?

The surgeon said it tore just a centimeter. Although they were aware that the skin around my mouth was tight as it is, I felt like they didn’t take the extra precaution to make sure this didn’t happen.

Asked on June 10, 2014 under Malpractice Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether, under all the circumstances, they were careless or negligent--that means *unreasonably* careless, and not that they did not take every precaution which  they theoretically could, since no one is held to the standard of absolute care, just of taking reasonable care. If they were careless, then that could be malpractice; but even if so, it's probably not worth bringing the case. Malpractice cases are expensive; you need to hire a medical expert, and they do not come cheap. Meanwhile, what you could recover as compensation is commensurate with the injury done you and any additional costs. If you just had to put up with a few stitches for a few weeks, and then maybe the cost to remove them, you could not recover enough money to justify the time and cost of a lawsuit.

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