Orthodontist not doing his job?

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Orthodontist not doing his job?

I got my braces off almost 2 years ago. My orthodontist took them off early because he said if he didn’t, then my teeth would stain. This was his decision and he did not give us a say in it, and my overbite hadn’t been fixed. For a year and a half, he had me wearing retainers that weren’t holding my teeth together, because I grind my teeth in my sleep and they break. He told me there was nothing I could do about that other than getting them replaced every time that happened. I mentioned a thing that I’ve seen other orthodontists do, which is cement a permanent 4 year wire behind the teeth to keep them straight, and he said he did not want to do that. He finally took action by putting two brackets on my 2 front teeth, which of course misaligned them. Now that he took those off he wants me to pay $700 for a different type of retainer to realign those to teeth and then pay for the wire that I had suggested a year prior.

Asked on November 30, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Legally, if--as seems to be the case--the orthodontist was negligent or careless in the kind of care he gave you (that is, the level of orthodontic care you received did not meet currently accepted standards for orthodontic care), then he may have committed malpractice and may be liable for any costs to correct the problems he caused (e.g. if you have to go to another orthodontist). Unfortunately, there may be no cost-effective way to vindicate your rights: to bring a malpratice case, you must hire a medical expert (like another orthodontist) to examine you, write a report, and testify for you, because you, as a non-orthodontist, cannot testify as to what is or is not acceptable orthodontic treatment. The cost of such an expert could itself easily be $1,000, $1,500, or more, and you can't get that cost back in the lawsuit. Therefore, even before you pay for an attorney (you legally can represent yourself "pro se," but it is a *very* good idea to have an attorney for a malpractice case), you could spend well over $1,000 on the case, with not guaranty of winning (no case is ever guaranteed--do not believe any lawyer who tells you that a case is guaranteed to win). There is no good way to recover a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars in a malpractice case, given the economics of this type of lawsuit.


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