Broken Instruments Embedded In Jaw or Dropped Down Throat

May 12, 2015 — by Robert Gittleman Law Firm, PLC




            Lately, I have been referred increasing numbers of mishaps involving dentists breaking off their instruments during treatments, and forcing their broken off fragments into unintended soft tissue or bone, and then fraudulently failing to inform their patient.  The dentists then discharge their patient with contaminated sharp steel shrapnel retained in their jaw tissue.  Most often, sooner or later, discomfort, pain, infections, swelling, inflammation or teeth loosening begins, because the broken off dental instrument is contaminated with bacteria, dead bone tissue, gum, nerve or blood vessel tissue, or tooth or filling fragments.  All are dirty foreign bodies that join with the dirty metal fragments to wreak havoc in the oral cavity or sinus.

            These dental misadventures often occur when general dentists attempt treatments beyond their education, experience, skill level, or training.  One example is general dentists attempting root canals on molar teeth.  Molars are furthest back in your mouth, close to your throat, making surgery more difficult than treating front teeth.  The further back in your mouth, the smaller your mouth opening, plus reduced visualization and access.  The patient is usually lying either flat or almost flat, so dropped instruments or tooth fragments easily enter the throat and beyond.  General dentists possess less experience and knowledge treating rear root canals, because they are usually not done daily.  Also, endodontists are the only root canal specialists.   Most general dentists do not have specialized sophisticated equipment to treat canals in tiny enclosed root spaces; such as high powered specialized microscopes.  Also, many dentists fail to protect the throat with specialized apparatus preventing foreign bodies entering the throat.  Often, dental school students attempt procedures without an instructor at their side providing chair side instruction. 

            Typical misadventures include breaking off tooth structure, fillings or crowns, and dropping them into the patient's throat.  The foreign object often lodges in the lung or digestive tract.  Su rg ery is often required to retrieve the contaminated foreign bodies.

            Other misadventures include mistakenly drilling or filing through upper teeth into the sinus.  This allows unintended bone, soft tissues, foreign bodies or caustic chemicals to travel beyond the tooth embedding in bone, soft tissue or creating sinus infections, swelling, pain, nerve injuries, cosmetic face deformities, and severe face bruising.

            Avoid becoming a victim by trying to avoid dental schools.  Ask your dentist his experience performing your recommended procedure.  Does your dentist have specialized equipment to ensure safety and ease  of treating.  Check with your state licensing department for license complaints.  Check your county court records where he practices for malpractice lawsuits. 

            Be your own best advocate - - it could save you GRIEF!

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