Can an orthodontist be sued for breaking a patients tooth and denying that they did?

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Can an orthodontist be sued for breaking a patients tooth and denying that they did?

Today I went to my monthly braces appointment at the orthodontist. And during that time, they decided to change my front 2 brackets and in that process the 2 front teeth were filed and during that time, 1 of my top front teeth was chipped. I didn’t notice at the time until I saw in the mirror in the bathroom that my tooth was chipped. Once I confronted the assistant she said it’s because the brackets were moved and the appearance of my tooth is different. She told me to speak to the doctor about it and he said the same thing and that my tooth had previously been chipped.

Asked on January 24, 2012 under Malpractice Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It's not the denying that could result in liabilty--it's the breaking the tooth, if the orthodontist committed malpractice in doing so. Malpractice is medical care that does not meet accepted standards, whether due to carelessness, poor training, inadequate equipment, etc. A doctor, dentist, etc. is not liable every time a patient is injured, but only when the medical care provider is at fault, or commits malpractice. If the orthodontist did commit malpractice in chipping your tooth, he is potentially liable for your medical costs (e.g. to repair it); however, bear in mind that if the orthodontist won't voluntarily cover those costs, you'd have to sue for them--and malpractice suits can be very expensive, since you need a medical expert on your side.


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