Ill-Fitting Crowns Dental Malpractice Lawsuit

Fox v. Lee

maryland dental malpracticeThis dental malpractice claim was filed in Montgomery County after a dentist failed to make sure that a man's crowns properly fit his teeth. It was filed in Health Claims Arbitration on February 9, 2018, and it is the 70th medical malpractice case filed in Maryland this year.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

A man went to his dentist to have crowns placed on several of his teeth. The dentist did not measure and install the crowns appropriately, so they did not properly fit the man's teeth. As a result of insufficient cleaning, an excessive amount of tartar built up in the man's mouth. The dentist never recognized that the man's teeth were decaying under his crowns.

Years after the negligent crown placement, the man switched dentists. In addition to the improperly placed crowns and decaying teeth underneath, the new dentist noticed several other cavities that the old dentist had failed to treat. (You have to wonder how he knew they were not new cavities.) The new dentist was able to restore and correct the man's teeth and crowns, but the man required a root canal because the cavities under his crowns had gone untreated for so long.

Additional Comments
  • Most successful dental malpractice claims involve nerve injuries or severe infections that cause permanent injury, deformity, or disability. The reality is, a majority of dental malpractice victims are able to make a full recovery once they receive appropriate treatment, or their injury is minor enough that it does not impact their ability to function.

  • Cases, like this one, without significant damages, are unlikely to result in a large verdict or settlement. Many attorneys are hesitant to take on dental malpractice cases because it is hard to cover the high costs of malpractice research, so this claimant was very lucky to find a lawyer. Our firm would never take this case even if we knew we would win at trial.

  • This might be the least significant injury malpractice case we have ever seen filed in Maryland. In second place for 2018 would be this case, another ill-fitting crown lawsuit filed just one month after this case. 

  • This is also not an easy case for the plaintiff. The subsequent treating dentist is going to have to testify and be very compelling to get past negligence. Then causation is going to be an issue. How do we know this was the cause of the decay? The dentist that is retained as an expert - none have been named yet - had better be able to knock this issue out of the park. This is a case where you would not be surprised to see a voluntary dismissal.

  • You also wonder about contributory negligence. Is the dentist's lawyer going to be able to effectively argue that the patient should have felt the crown did not fit and come back into to get it fixed?

Jurisdiction
  • Montgomery County
Defendants
  • A dentist in Gaithersburg
Negligence
  • Failing to properly fit and place dental crowns.
  • Failing to notice and treat tooth decay.
Specific Counts Pled
  • As a result of the defendant's negligence, the claimant suffered pain, dental bills, damages to his teeth, and a loss of income from his employment.

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