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Is it possible to sue a dentist for bad work on a root canal?

New York, NY |

I had a root canal done in 2012 by general dentist now I have pain in the root canal. I went to that dentist and asked if she could fixed it but she said that I had to pay for her to do the work. I also called my insurance but they told that the root canal was already paid and she should fix it as a courtesy.

Thank you

Attorney Answers 8


  1. Do your self a favor and get a second opinion from another dentist. Then you will find out why it failed and you can consult a dental malpractice attorney if there was a deviation from the standard of care.


  2. While it is indeed possible to sue, the better course of action at this point is to find a dental malpractice attorney to discuss your rights. Many times, when it comes to any sort of professional malpractice, a bad result does not mean that there was malpractice. Talk to an attorney about this dynamic.

    Best of luck!

    In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.


  3. Yes, but you need an attorney experienced in Dental Malpractice.

    My name is Stephen R. Cohen and have practiced 39+ yrs. I can be reached at 213-819-1171. I practicein Los Angeles and Orange County, CA. I give only appointments over the phone., these services do not create an attorney client relationship. My answers may offend as I do not believe in pulling punches or sugar coating the truth, I use common sense as well as the law. Other state's laws may differ and I would appreciate it if you feel like marking my answers helpful or best. There are a lot of really good attorneys on this site, I will do limited appearances which are court documents , less expensive.


  4. The short answer is yes you can sue if you have an expert that testifies the Dentist breached the applicable standard of care and it caused you damages. The problem is one of limited damages versus the costs of litigation. I stopped taking dental cases over 20 years ago, not because there isn't malpractice, but the damages are usually limited, and the costs of pursuing these case is too expensive. I hope you find someone local that can help you.


  5. Yes, you can sue if you can find an attorney in your area that handles dental malpractice. Not very many attorneys do, so you may have to do a bit of research.


  6. I will be a little more forward then my colleagues. To start with, a big question is how long before you started to have pain in that tooth was the root canal treatment completed in 2012. Another big question is has the cause of the pain been established. The mere fact that you have pain in that tooth does not automatically mean it is related to the root canal work itself. In fact, if the root canal was done properly, the tooth itself is essentially "dead" as the procedure entails the removal of the nerve roots in the tooth. There is still some sensation as there are micropsopic nerve ending in the gum tissues that the tooth remains embedded in. Is there infection ? That could cause pain and of course should be treated, but does not automatically mean it is due to a root canal job - particularly one done many months or a year or more ago. After all is said and done, and as pointed out by others, depending on what the remedial treatment required and the cost therefor is, it will unfortunately often be the case that the expense of litigating a dental malpractice case is not justified by the limited amount of compensation that could be obtained even if the case were successful. But, get a second opinion as to what the cause of your present pain is, the cost to treat and then consult with a malpractice attorney if the second dentist attributes your problem to the way the first dentist did the root canal job.


  7. Check it out with another Dentist and then get a Dental Malpractice attorney in your New York area to pursue a case (if the second Dentist believes that the work done was poorly done). Best of luck.

    Mr. Crosner is licensed to practice law in California and has been practicing law in California since 1978. The response herein is general legal and business analysis.. It is not intended nor construed to be "legal advice" but rather it is analysis, and different lawyers may analyze this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  8. Only a tiny handful of lawyers handle these cases, and I'm sorry that mine does not, but Google "dental malpractice lawyer" to find a local lawyer in your city to resolve it.

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