Gaithersburg Dental Malpractice Lawsuit

Ling-While v. Alluring Smiles, LLC

This is a dental malpractice case filed on behalf of a man in Montgomery County. This case was filed in Health Claims Arbitration on August 22, 2016. It is the 417th medical malpractice case filed in 2016 in Maryland.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

The plaintiff is a 40-year-old mentally and physically challenged adult suffering from Marfan's Syndrome, a genetic disorder affecting the body's connective tissue that holds the body's cells and organs together. He presents to defendant dentist for general dentistry and a consultation. His Marfan's Syndrome caused him to have atypical dental features, including a narrow, high-arched palate and long narrow teeth with severe crowding. Additionally, he has one broken tooth.

One month later, he goes to defendant dentist for a treatment plan including the extraction of his maxillary teeth and a removable denture for his upper arch, as well as crowns for all of his mandibular teeth. There are no specific diagnosis for any teeth, and no specific findings other than a note of "rampant caries". Several months later, nine of plaintiff's teeth are extracted and he is given an upper denture. The defendants note "hemostasis achieved" in his records.

Two days later, plaintiff complains that his denture keeps falling out of his month. A week later, he returns to defendants, complaining of pain while wearing the denture as well as pain at the extraction sites. The defendants find pyogenic granulomas (vascular lesions) at the site of two of the extractions.

Another week later, plaintiff returns again with pain, swelling, and profuse bleeding at the extraction sites. Defendant doctor who performed the extractions is not available, but a staff member who recognizes the severity of the situation physically takes plaintiff to an oral surgeon. The oral surgeon notes a "box of blood" and profuse bleeding, along with very large hematomas in the plaintiff's upper left and upper right quadrants of his mouth.

The oral surgeon does a debridement of the hematomas and alveoplasty procedure to smooth out the rough edges of bone where the defendant doctor extracted the plaintiff's teeth. He also sutures the areas and achieves hemostasis. He has a telephone call with defendant doctor, who tells him that she was unaware the plaintiff suffered from Marfan's Syndrome, that she did not know what Marfan's Syndrome was, and that she did not know the heart medicine that plaintiff was taking or the pre-medication requirements of the plaintiff prior to having dental surgery.

The plaintiff's oral architecture eliminated him from being a candidate for the procedure, therefore the extraction of his teeth leaves him with a need for implants and prosthesis, which is extremely more invasive and expensive than he anticipated.

Plaintiff alleges that as a result of defendant's negligent care, he suffered extensive profuse bleeding, lost teeth that could have been salvaged, substantial pain and suffering, the need for implants and prostheses, the need for additional surgical procedures costing a substantial amount of money, and will need additional medical treatment in the future.

Additional Comments
  • If the oral surgeon is going to testify at trial that the dentist did not know the man had Marfan's Syndrome, that might inflame the jury. Juries like to give doctors the benefit of the doubt on judgment issues. They are far less tolerant of doctors who do not get the information they need to treat a patient. Did the dentist take a full medical history?
  • The expert for the plaintiff's in this case is a Maryland dentist. You do not see this often in malpractice cases because doctors are typically loathe to testify against a doctor they will see professionally. If you are an echocardiologist in Maryland, you are bound to frequently run into another echocardiologist in your travels. But a general dentist in Gaithersburg is unlikely to ever see a general dentist in Pasadena. (Lawyers typically have no problem testifying against other lawyers in legal malpractice cases. The jokes pretty much write themselves for this.)
  • As with most dental malpractice cases, the question is whether the damages justify a malpractice suit. The chances of a Montgomery County jury awarding a great deal of money in a case like this are very low. But the cost of bringing a dental malpractice case makes the path a little bit easier. These are one expert cases with relatively inexpensive experts. It is almost like trying a garden variety auto tort case with a little more paperwork.
More Maryland Dental Malpractice Lawsuits
  • A wisdom tooth extraction lawsuit filed in 2016 in Prince George's County after the patient suffered nerve damage. One issue in this claim is whether an oral surgeon should have performed the procedure.
  • A lingual nerve injury dental malpractice lawsuit in Howard County. This case also involved a wisdom tooth extraction.
  • Dental malpractice lawsuit in Hagerstown involving nerve damage during - you guessed it - a wisdom tooth extraction.
Jurisdiction
  • Montgomery County
Defendants Negligence
  • maryland dental malpractice Failure to recognize a patient suffering from Marfan's Syndrome; failure to pre-medicate a patient with Marfan's syndrome to address a known heart disorder; Negligently treating a patient with Marfan's Syndrome without understanding the nature of the condition
  • Failure to obtain medical clearance to address plaintiff's known blood coagulation disorder
  • Recommending a potentially dangerous treatment plan to a special needs patient
  • Negligently failing to refer the patient to an oral surgeon for multiple extractions; negligently extracting multiple maxillary teeth
  • Allowing a patient to leave the office without achieving hemostasis
  • Negligently failing to perform a necessary alveoplasty
Specific Counts Pled
  • Negligence - Dental Malpractice
Plaintiff's Experts and Areas of Specialty Case End Result
  • Pre-trial hearing scheduled for July 14, 2017
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