Can I sue for dental malpractice?

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Can I sue for dental malpractice?

I was seeing a dentist who was my employer, I am a dental hygienist, she started a full treatment plan and I did everything I was instructed to do so. I had a root canal done on a tooth by a specialist and was told there was still decay in the tooth. I was then told to have a specialist extract my front tooth, which I did on Christmas Eve, I had a temporary appliance placed to replace my missing tooth till my final bridge could be

done. The temporary appliance broke, I was fired soon after, I have been in pain, which she has given me pain meds and antibiotics in the past but now the office refuses to send me my dental records, I can’t apply for a job with no front tooth, I am a single mom that supports my son and my mom, I am ruly at my wits end, I can’t afford to fix the work that she has messed up and I can’t get a copy of my own dental records, which I know belong to me.

Asked on February 7, 2019 under Malpractice Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether the dental care was negligent, or unreasonably careless. That the treatment did not come out well for you is very unfortunate but does not automatically make this malpractice, since sometimes a dentist does everything she is supposed to and things don't work out--the law accepts that medicine and dentistry are not perfect and success is not guaranteed. So you would have to have some reason and some evidence to think the treatment was actually careless or not up to current accepted dental standards to know if you might have a malpractice case or not.
Even if you do, you can't sue for not being able to get a job. There is no reason you can't apply for a job with a missing tooth, and not being able to get a job is not a logical or foreseeable consequence of not having a tooth; therefore, the dentist would not be liable for any lost wages, etc. All you might recover would be the cost of dental treatment to correct the problem and *possibly* "pain and suffering" if you are experiencing some serious life impairment (e.g. constant severe pain affecting your ability to do day-to-day tasks; difficulty speaking; etc.).


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