Dental malpractice

Asked over 5 years ago - Boston, MA

My previous dentist refused to offer metal fillings, citing the potential for mercury ingestion. However, he failed to inform me about the side effects -- which I'm now experiencing -- of white fillings. As a result, I've had to have root canals and fillings/crowns in sites where he put in white fillings.

Additionally, this dentist insisted -- absolutely insisted, refused to pull the tooth -- on a root canal, gum surgery and a crown for a tooth that i wanted pulled originally. Within 15 months of putting in the actual crown, it fell out. When I asked him what caused it, he said there was probably some decay he didn't completely remove when putting in the crown.

My question is not whether I can sue -- to me, a lay person, this is clearly negligent care. My question is, would it be more prudent to retain counsel for this situation or to try to work with the dentist directly to get back $? I spent over $5k on the work itself and spent, in total, several months of acute nerve pain from the work he did -- and now have to go through it again because of his negligence. If I go through counsel, should I expect to pay a retainer or would it be a contingency engagement? Are there attorneys who do dental malpractice?

If I should try working with the dentist directly, how do I approach him about it? Do I ask just for my money back or $ for pain and suffering?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Marc Lawrence Breakstone

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . I think you need to speak to an experienced attorney regarding whether or not you should pursue a claim with a lawyer or try to work something out directly with the dentist. I will tell you that in my over 20 years of experience reviewing cases like yours, I generally do not pursue cases of failed crowns or complications from fillings. Because the investment of time and money by an attorney in a case like this would be relatively large (in the tens of thousands of dollars), unless your damages were substantial (in the hundreds of thousands of dollars), it would not be worth an attorney's time and effort to become involved. It sounds like you need corrective work on your teeth. I would think that your priority would be to get in the hands of a competent dentist, get an assessment as to the work that you need, then go back to the first dentist and ask for your money back.

    Good luck with your care.

  2. Henry Lebensbaum

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Malpractice suits must be filed with the statute of limitation. Whether there is malpractice involves a combination of your view, and an expert that needs to be retained to review your claim and the records.

    Yes there are a number of attorneys who do dental malpractice.
    While your view of a problem is important, it is only part of the evaluation procedure of a potential claim.

    Do not ignore your experience; do not leap to conclusions.
    Give your attorney some room to evaluate your position and claim.

    Good luck

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