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When it comes to cases and complaints regarding dental issues, a dental attorney is needed when attending hearings before the Board. The Board does not allow those who wish to exceed the scope of their practice as a dentist. A certain dentist in Austin could’ve done this but failed to hire a good dental attorney.

On or about January 22, 2012, a patient was advised that he would require endodontic treatment in the form of a root canal, which was eventually performed in May 2012. Unfortunately, during this procedure, one of the surgical files fractured and a piece of the instrument became lodged in the canal. Despite many efforts, the dentist was unable to retrieve the fractured piece.

The patient’s treatment following the fracture was entirely reasonable and well thought out. He was informed quickly about what had happened and given a number of options of how he wanted to proceed. He was given a regimen of antibiotics to avoid the risk of infection.  A successful attempt was made to bypass the fracture and complete the root canal within a couple of weeks. Subsequently, the file was removed and a temporary crown was put in place.

The patient complained that at first glance, the negligence, in this case, appeared to take place during the initial root canal operation when the file fractured and lodged in the patient’s canal. However, after careful review, this was not, in fact, the case. The fracturing of instruments, whilst unfortunate, is inevitably a risk during precise dental surgery and it could not be shown that the fracture was the fault of the dentist. Nor could it be shown that any of the patient’s subsequent treatment fell below the standard of care to be expected from a competent dentist.

On reviewing the medical records, it was noticed that there was a radiograph taken in 2009 of the patient’s teeth showing small caries in the same tooth. However, there was no plan of action proposed by the dentist as to the treatment. It was simply left or forgotten and it was not until a year and a half later when, during another checkup, the caries was acted upon. At this point, however, it had grown beyond the point where fillings would suffice and a root canal was required.

This failure to offer any advice or plan of action to the patient was a clear breach of duty as per the Board who handled the case. Due to the nature of legal causation, the initial negligence caused a chain of events that led to the fracture of the file during the root canal and the subsequent pain and suffering. Had this initial negligence not occurred, neither would the future treatments, procedures or pain, and suffering. As such, the initial dental negligence could be held responsible for all the resulting losses over the proceeding years.

The Board took action to the case, summoning the dentist to defend against the accusation. Unfortunately, the dentist failed to hire a good dental attorney to help her defend her case.

As a result, the dentist was sentenced to disciplinary action to ensure that she will never commit such acts again.

The case would have yielded a different result if the dentist was able to hire a dental attorney. So if you also have the same cases or concerns, it’s best to contact Dental Attorney Yong J. An for further details. You may contact him at (832) 428-5679 to get a schedule for a confidential consultation.