Children's Dental Office Malpractice Lawsuit

Butts v. Children's Dental Office, P.A.

Pediatric X-RayThis dental malpractice lawsuit was filed by a parent in Anne Arundel County after her daughter underwent a surgical tooth extraction that could've been avoided if the defendant dentists had recognized the situation earlier. It was filed in Health Claims Arbitration on May 9, 2017 and it is the 219th medical malpractice case filed in Maryland this year.

Summary of Plaintiff's Allegations

Over a seven year period, during which a girl went for regular biannual visits to the Children's Dental Office, she took three panoramic x-rays. Each of the three x-rays showed signs of obstruction to upper canine eruption on both sides, and bilateral retention of upper primary canines. Meaning, her adult canine teeth were starting to come in before her baby canine teeth fell out. Finally, after the third x-ray, the defendants at the Children's Dental Office made a referral to an orthodontist, where the girl was first informed about her upper canines.

After consulting two orthodontists and an oral surgeon, it was determined that the girl would have to have her two upper impacted canines extracted and have dental implants placed once she was fully grown. The surgical extraction of her upper canines could have been avoided if the defendants had recognized the situation in a timely manner. If the girl's primary (baby) canine teeth had been removed earlier, her adult teeth could have come in normally. Instead, her impacted upper canines grew, rotated, and became situated dangerously close to her fully developed incisor roots. If the defendants had responded appropriately and quickly, the girl would not have lost her adult upper canines and would not need dental implants.

Additional Comments
  • There are a lot of dental malpractice cases filed in Maryland. Most have limited value (these cases are big exceptions). Injuries to a child like those that are alleged in this case may have real settlement and trial value.
  • It is easy to blow off dental care for small children. They do not get cavities. But it is not uncommon for some permanent teeth -- such as lateral incisors, pemolars and wisdom teeth -- to never form in the jaw. There is also the fear of impacted teeth that form in the jaw but do not grow in the proper direction. This is why even though children still need regular dental check-ups. This girl's parents were doing the right thing and sending their child to the dentist twice a year.
Jurisdiction
  • Anne Arundel County
Defendants
  • 5 dentists
  • Children's Dental Office, P.A.
Hospitals Where Patient was Treated
  • Children's Dental Office, P.A.
  • Crofton Orthodontics
  • Labbe Family Orthodontics
  • Maryland Oral Surgery Associates
Negligence
  • Failure to timely recognize the need for upper canine eruption management
  • Failure to take timely action before risking the health of upper canines and incisors
Specific Counts Pled
  • Physical pain and emotional anguish
  • Economic losses
Plaintiff's Experts and Areas of Specialty
  • Sora Lee, DDS, Ph.D, dentist and board-certified orthodontist
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