What are my rights if my dentist hid the fact that he pulled the wrong tooth?

I went to dentist for root canal on tooth #12 and dentist did a root canal on tooth 11. He put a porcelin cap on #12 and never said anything about pulling the worng tood. It has been a little over three months since this happened. I just found out last week, when I went to another dentist. We went to dentist office, he retired a month after the incident. His partner is still in business. Do I have a case to go to a lawyer.

Asked on September 10, 2012 under Malpractice Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Pulling the wrong tooth is most likely malpractice, or "bad practice": the provision of dental care which does not meet currently accepted standards for such care. There is a good chance the dentist would be liable. The question is whether a malpractice suit--one of the most expensive types of lawsuits to bring, since you need medical expert testimony, and medical experts do not work cheap--is worthwhile. You can recover an amount equal to current and reasonably projected future medical costs arising out of the error, as well as for pain and suffering if you have suffering significant pain or disability; such a pain and suffering award is usually (if the injury is bad enough to warrant it) between 1 and 3 times the extent of the medical costs. Unless the above total to over $10,000, it is difficult to believe that a malpractice suit would be worthwhile, though you can certainly contact the dentist, state that you are considering one, and see if any settlement is offered.


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