Unnecessary Dental Work Causes Chronic Pain


Dentistry Expert WitnessThis case involves complications following a dental procedure. The patient had no significant medical history. During the normal course of his daily activities, the plaintiff fractured the veneer on several of his teeth. The patient went to the dentist, who advised placing crowns on the teeth to repair the damage. The patient agreed to the treatment and the dentist proceeded with crown work. Immediately after the crown work was finished, the patient experienced pain in his gums at the site of the procedure. As a result, the defendant advised the patient to undergo a root canal. After the procedure, it was discovered that the crown no longer fit, so the patient took another model and re-submitted it for a fit.  It was later discovered the dentist cut into his bone and gums. After further evaluation from other specialists, it was determined that the plaintiff never needed a root canal, and there was no testing done to determine the need for it in the first place.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Do you routinely treat patients similar to the one described in the case? Please explain.
  • 2. Have you ever had a patient develop the outcome described in the case? If so, please explain.
  • 3. Do you believe this patient may have had a better outcome if the care rendered had been different?
  • 4. Have you ever served as an expert witness on a case similar to the one described above? If so, please explain.
  • 5. Please tell us why you’re qualified to serve as an expert reviewer of this case.

Expert Witness Response E-009807

I have been a licensed practicing dentist since 1985. I have been a certified Specialist in Endodontics since 1993. I became a Member of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada in 1993 and became a Fellow of this Royal College in 1998. I also received my Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics in 1998. For eleven years, I was head of the Division of Endodontics, Department of Oral Biological and Surgical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, in major university setting from 1993 to 2004. Since 2008 I have been the Director of Graduate Endodontics, and an Assistant Professor in the Division of Endodontics, Department of Biological and Medical Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry in a major university setting. As Director of the Graduate Endodontics program, I teach the current literature course, run the case management and case review seminars, as well as instruct in the graduate clinic. Additionally, I am a co-coordinator for the 3rd and 4th year Endodontic courses in the Undergraduate Dental program. I also teach a section on Dental Trauma to the Dental students and Emergency treatment to members of the Northwest Endodontic Study Club and Seminar. I work in private practice and treat patients who are in acute pain; some from recent restorations. I have given numerous expert medico legal opinions on a variety of dental cases. In the past I have given a medical-legal opinion for a patient that had root canal treatment that was deemed unnecessary, and the patient continued to have intractable pain.

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