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Improperly placed dental implant on front tooth, $10-15K out of pocket & year 2+ of dealing w/surgeries. What can I do?

Grand Rapids, MI |

A specialist extracted FRONT tooth & applied bone graft/frenectomy. After months, placed dental implant. During implant procedure, bone ridge split & required another bone graft,2nd frenectomy, and gum transplant.. My mouth looked like Frankenstein. Approx 1 1/2 years of procedures & still waiting. Went to restorative dentist for final crown on implant. Dentist said "no" too problematic. Went to 2nd dentist...said, "no" too problematic. Consulted oral surgeon...said "no", improperly placed and dental implant needs to come out. Implant is too small & improperly positioned, not ideal margins. Please, please, what can I do? It's not a matter of $ back b/c what the doctor has done has created a huge mess of time, pain, & super stress. It's my very front tooth :( Advice appreciated

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Attorney answers 6

Posted

My understanding is that dental malpractice is a very specialized area. Unfortunately, a forum such as this is really very limited when it comes to any attorney being able to give you a substantive response. Dental malpractice cases are expensive to pursue, difficult to prove and highly technical in nature, since you need experts to establish what the standard of care is and that it was breached in some fashion. You need to have a malpractice attorney get the files and have them reviewed by an expert to determine if professional negligence occurred and if you have any recourse. Use the Find a Lawyer tab on Avvo to find one in your area. Best of luck to you...

THESE COMMENTS MUST NOT BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE. Comments made on websites such as Avvo.com are provided for information purposes only, and you should not base a decision to act or refrain from acting based upon this answer. The only way to determine how the law may apply to your particular situation is to consult with an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Answering this question does not create an attorney-client relationship or otherwise require further consultation. . That relationship is established by the execution of a written agreement for legal services. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference.

Asker

Posted

Thank-you

Posted

Based on the facts that you present, the only advice anyone on this site will give you is to consult with a personal injury/medical negligence attorney from your state, IMMEDIATELY. Each state has different deadlines to file claims with the court. If you miss that date you are forever barred from making a claim. Consult with someone today.
Obviously you have had a bad outcome. Not all bad outcomes are the result of negligence. In order to know for sure, it is necessary for you to retain a lawyer interested in investigating this potential claim. That lawyer will gather your dental records and have them reviewed by a dental expert. The expert will be asked to determine if 1. the standard of care was breached and 2. whether damages resulted from that breach. The standard of care "basically" means whether a similar dentist under the same or similar circumstances would not have done something that was done in your case or would have done something differently, etc. Unless and until such an opinion is secured there is no viable claim.
I do not know the statute of limitation dates in your state. Since it has been some time since your "care" you need to speak with someone NOW.

If you feel this is the "best" answer or is "helpful," please indicate. Since I am limited to the information you provide, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the answer. You should seek the advise of an attorney who can explore all aspects of your question. This communication does not form an attorney client relationship.

Asker

Posted

Honestly, the idea of suing turns my stomach. I wish there was another way to hold the person accountable. I have 2 documented letters from the 2nd restorative dentist and the oral surgeon (top in their field for our area) stating their opinion of why they cannot adequately place a crown on the existing implant. The first dentist verbally mentioned the problems but sent a letter recommending other people. Not a very good feeling being passed around like a bad apple :( Realistically, I will prob be out $12K when it's all done. As a person who has never sued (or even thought of it for that matter) , am I looking at $10K out of pocket with possibly the same amount for a judgement in the event a judge agreed? I'm a very happy/smiling woman...it's not fun walking around with a grey chicklet!

Asker

Posted

Thank-you for your advice!

Philip Anthony Fabiano

Philip Anthony Fabiano

Posted

I am not sure I understand. If someone stole $10K from you would you want it back? If someone slammed their car into your house --not intentionally, they just made a mistake--and caused $10K damage to your house would you want them to place your house in the same position as it was --or would the thought of that turn your stomach too?

Philip Anthony Fabiano

Philip Anthony Fabiano

Posted

As as another way to hold someone accountable, there are ways, you could do it at the point of a gun--old west style. You could demand "accountability" pursuant to hammurabi's code: you break my leg I get to break your leg or the Bible: an eye for an eye. That is certainly accountability and what is considered Justice. Not sure I understand why "suing" would turn your stomach--how else should someone who does not want to accept personal responsibility for their acts and/or omissions be held to account.

Asker

Posted

Not the way I was raised. Also, I'm not doing jumping jacks thinking of taking $10K from our kids college fund to sue a dentist with the hopes of recouping the same. I believe there is something called Peer Review, and that may/may not hold the professional accountable?

Philip Anthony Fabiano

Philip Anthony Fabiano

Posted

Not sure how you were raised? Expecting someone to take personal responsibility for what they did, does not seem me to be a bad lesson to learn. As far as costs are concerned, you are mistaken again. I suspect--I may be wrong--but you get information from that "fair and balanced" channel. These cases are very risky and expensive to bring. Despite what you may have heard juries are reluctant to rule in favor of a patient in even the clearest of cases. All these cases are handled on a contingent fee basis. If a lawyer is interested in pursuing your claim, he/she will bear all the expense. Those expenses are not paid back to the lawyer unless the case is successful. Then they are deducted from the client's recovery. You would not have to pay anything. The fee agreement will say so. I'm still curious though about the way you were raised. If you are at the grocery store today and the clerk a very nice person gives you the wrong change--short changes you $5--she didn't mean it--it was an honest mistake--do you ask for it back? If so why do you think a claim of professional negligence is any different. You paid for a service--sometimes there are bad outcomes without negligence--that is not a case--but if in your case the doctor, though again, well meaning causes you an injury and the suffering you say you are enduring, your upbringing says you cannot ask this person who has created a debt to you to merely balance the scales. Again, if it were your child and they told you, Mom this doctor hurt me because he was careless, he should be held accountable. You would answer: "Sorry, that is not how we were raised."

Asker

Posted

For Pete's Sakes, are you for real? A successful lawyer would be too busy to sit on his can, typing online, trying to teach a 48 year old mom/housewife life lessons. Just stop already.

Philip Anthony Fabiano

Philip Anthony Fabiano

Posted

Justice never takes a break! You see, I see you as a potential juror in some other lawyers case someday. I'm concerned about all victims not just my clients.

Posted

It sounds like you may have a case. Attorneys don't usually like to take dental malpractice cases because the damage awards are usually low, and the expenses eat up the recovery. Sounds like your damage claim may in the area that is worth pursuing. You need to contact an attorney that does medical malpractice work. Perhaps he could use the second dentist and oral surgeon as experts. If the job was botched as much as you say they may be willing to testify for minimal expense.

Asker

Posted

Thanks for your advice. I don't think it botched but more a question of technique? Damage was done when it was installed, but it was put in on such an angle that it has many strikes against it: smaller implant used (not as strong), discolored (which is horrible for front tooth), and not adequate margins. It's a cluster. I do have documented letters from the restorative dentist & the oral surgeon recommending it come out and be replaced. They are top in their field for our area. Is the possible damages for something like this even worth the expense to pursue? Thank-you

John L. Schroeder

John L. Schroeder

Posted

The only way you will know whether it is worth it to pursue is to sit down with a lawyer and go over all of the details.

Posted

Have a local lawyer investigate. Avvo has a terrific "find a lawyer" tool to find a top-rated Avvo lawyer with a low contingency fee.

Posted

Everyone is spot on here. You really need to consult a medical malpractice attorney. Dental malpractice is tough because most of the time, your problem is corrected by the court date. But you still suffered. It sounds like you are going thru hell, so you need help. But the reality is that your cost of prosecution will be very high. Hopefully you will find a lawyer to take the case. Good Luck!

Posted

The court can only award you money. It does not prescribe medication, judges don't perform surgery or dental procedures. Follow the advice of the sage lawyers who have answered your question and good luck.

The above response is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.

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