The plaintiff, a thirty-five-year-old woman, presented to the defendant dentist for a consultation and second opinion after her regular dentist recommended dental implants to replace a decayed front tooth. The plaintiff had a history of dental problems, including decaying or missing teeth, and she told the defendant, through a translator, that she wanted to fix her “entire mouth”. The defendant recommended extractions and implants. The plaintiff agreed and signed the consent form.
The defendant performed the procedure, but one implant failed to properly integrate, so the defendant replaced it with a new one.
The plaintiff went to a second defendant dentist several months later, who treated the plaintiff and restored additional failed implants. However, the plaintiff complained of bleeding and swelling around the implants for the next few months. A third dentist diagnosed infected implants and severe bone loss. The implants were removed, and the plaintiff was unable to receive new ones.
The plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the first and second dentists, alleging that the defendant dentists were negligent in failing to treat periodontal disease before placing the implants, failing to advise her of all the risks involved, and in negligently replacing the implants, therefore exacerbating the problem.
Defense experts asserted that the implants were appropriately placed. The defense further asserted that the plaintiff gave her informed consent, the work was properly done, and the reason the implants failed is because the plaintiff continued to smoke after the surgery despite the defendants’ warnings.
After jury deliberations, a defense verdict was returned.
With permission from Medical Malpractice Verdicts, Settlements & Experts; Lewis Laska, Editor, 901 Church St., Nashville, TN 37203-3411, 1-800-298-6288.