Woman wanted better smile, dental work failed to provide it.

FACTS & ALLEGATIONS In May 1993, plaintiff presented to a Richmond County dental office. Plaintiff sought cosmetic dental work to improve the appearance of her smile. Defendant intended to place two crowns and three laminates to create the appearance of six teeth where plaintiff had only five, as a result of a missing front tooth. Complications arose during the ensuing five months of treatment, and plaintiff had to undergo additional dental procedures, including root canal and bone grafts.

Plaintiff sued defendant. She claimed that in preparing for the laminates, defendant left an acid gel on the surface of her teeth too long, that it went into the pulp, and resulted in hypersensitive teeth. She also claimed that after root canal on tooth No. 9, he left it open too long and an infection developed. Her dentistry expert testified that a permanent seal should have been used instead of a temporary seal.

Defendant contended that the gel was not left on for an excessive amount of time. He further claimed that in any event it is only surface-active—it is not absorbed into the tooth— and thus, that it could not have been the cause of any hypersensitivity. Regarding the root canal, defendant argued that leaving it open was proper because it allowed for the drainage of infectious material. A sponge kept out foreign matter.

One of defendant’s dentistry experts testified that a temporary seal is the industry standard; that a permanent seal is not used until after a final decision is made regarding the course of treatment.

INJURIES/DAMAGES dental; loss of services plaintiff claimed that she had to undergo additional dental procedures, including root canal and bone grafts, to remedy the defects caused by the alleged malpractice.

RESULT The jury rendered a defense verdict. It found that defendant did not deviate from the standard of care.