I am hoping you can help me. I had a tooth extracted and the dentist ended up perforating my sinus cavity. They did not tell me that about the perforation until the next day. I wasn’t even aware this could happen, though when I asked them about that they insisted I gave them informed consent. Several days after the procedure my nose started popping. I called the office and they said to take Sudafed. By the next morning I had a 102-degree fever. They called me in an antibiotic, but my fever did not go away and soon my left eye started hurting. A week later I went back in and they removed some pieces of bone. They could see an infection in the back sockets and gave me a stronger antibiotic. Two weeks later and I was still in pain and had an infection. They finally recommened an oral surgeon that suggested I see an ENT. I was sure that they needed to close up this hole because whenever I do my gargling (which I normally do daily), parts of it is coming out of my nose green and slimy, so I asked to see the oral surgeon so I could speed things up. I’ve been missing work and am out of sick days.
While waiting for the oral surgeon appointment, my antibiotics ran out and I ended up with another sinus infection. I called my family doctor and explained my situation. He called in ANOTHER antibiotic. When I went to see the oral surgeon, he poked around with a Q-TIP and told me it is healed up and there’s nothing to worry about. I will admit to being puzzled because of the symptoms I am having and the pain I am in. That annoyed him and he snapped at me saying, “I told you it was healed. You should be happy, not questioning me.” I’m out of sick days, still have a fever and am in terrible pain. I can barely eat. What do I do? Also, I checked on my informed consent because I didn’t remember them telling me any of this would be a possibility. It turns out my informed consent does not have a date or even my signature; just a note that says, “Reviewed with patient. Unable to sign due to sedation.” Can they give me information when I’m out of it and call it consent?
I’m going to start with your last question first. No, they cannot get “informed consent” when you are under the influence of dental sedation. When you are not lucid, you cannot give consent to anything. They should have gone over everything with you before any sedation became a part of the equation.
This dentist has made several mistakes, which I’ll go over in a moment. Before I do that I want to make sure you understand it was totally inappropriate for your oral surgeon to talk to you that way and, given your condition, I question his motives. This dentist recommended him and I suspect he was worried that if he pointed out this dentist made some mistakes that he worried he would not get any more referals. I would see that ENT who will be able to help you, but pick your own. Don’t go to anyone this particular dentist is recommending.
Call your dentist and tell him that he needs to cover all the expenses you’ve incured getting this repaired as well as any follow up expenses directly resulting from this. If he gives you any trouble, let him know you’ll be contacting a lawyer. That statement will trigger him contacting his malpractice insurance, who will likely advise him to settle.
Mistakes Made By Your Dentist
- Not getting informed consent from you, which we went over earlier.
- A poorly executed extraction that resulted in a large sinus perforation.
- Bone fragments left in the perforation site.
- Neglecting to start treatment of the perforation immediately after the event.
- Neglecting to even tell you about it until the next day. This is important because blowing your nose could have done more damage.
- Not giving you the correct anitibiotic the first time around.
Show this post to an attorney if it comes to that.
This blog is brought to you by West Seneca Dentist Dr. Carl Embury.