I will start off by admitting I rely on dental sedation for pretty much everything except a cleaning. The ability to get work done without having fear is one of the reasons my teeth are in such good condition. I did have two years of unemployment and no insurance which caused me to miss my normal upkeep at the dentist. During this time I developed a cavity that my dentist said would need a dental crown. I’ve always trusted him and agreed without question.
I don’t know what actually happened during the appointment but I remember coming out of the fog of sedation at home and discovering instead of getting a dental crown, he’d pulled the tooth. I called the office and they said it was too far gone to save. Here are my questions. How did he not know that to begin with? Was he allowed to do that without my consent? Should he have to replace the tooth?
I am sorry this happened to you. I haven’t seen the x-rays your dentist did or examined you, so it is hard to say with certainty that he should have known, but generally a dentist can tell when a tooth cannot be saved. It’s possible he got in there and the decay underneath was much more extensive, but again, I haven’t seen the x-rays.
With dental sedation, there is a release you sign that says what procedure you agree to. I would ask to see the agreement you signed. In order for him to do work you didn’t agree to there would have to be something in the contract that says if something turns up during the procedure you give him permission to move forward. Without that, he could get into some trouble by extracting your tooth without your consent. If the tooth truly wasn’t saveable, then another option would be to give you a temporary crown so you are not at risk from anything jagged and consult with you when you were more lucid. Obviously, it would mean another appointment charge, but many patients would prefer that to losing a tooth without their consent.
As to whether he should pay for the tooth replacement, I would first ask him. If he says no, then ask for your x-rays and chart notes and take them to another dentist for a second opinion as to whether the tooth could be saved. You may want to go to a dentist in another city for your second opinion. Dentists know one another and one dentist may have trouble saying anything against a colleague he knows. If it turns out the tooth was extracted unnecessarily, then you will have a good case to get the replacement of your choice. I would replace it with a dental implant.
This blog is brought to you by Hoffman Estates Dentist Dr. William Becker.