Malpractice Suit, Roots of Teeth Still There?

My husband had two teeth taken out about a year ago. The dentist then claimed it was all taken care of but at the dentist today we discovered that the root on both teeth was left in there. We asked him today if it was OK and he said no, they needed to be taken out but I’m not sure if that is true. This dentist was a little scattered. Did those roots need to be taken out and if so do we have a case?

Thanks, Mary in Missouri

Dear Mary,

In some cases, a small piece of the extracted tooth, bone chip, or a portion of the root tip can get stuck in the socket. These are fairly common complications following a tooth extraction especially if the tooth is heavily decayed or fractured . An uninfected small root tip can sometimes remain in the jaw if the removal is too difficult or cause possible nerve damage while trying to retrieve it. Often, whether its a small piece of bone, tooth structure, or a root tip that are near the surface usually work their way out on their own, however at times may need the help of the dentist for complete removal if they are deep down in the socket. If the root tip becomes infected then it will have to be surgically removed. The root portion of the tooth is actually firmly encased in the bone and held in place tightly by a ligament making it difficult to remove completely, especially if the tooth has complications already.

We recommend that the root tips be removed because of the possibility that an infection, cyst, or other lesion may develop around the root tips. Did you sign a consent form before the extractions took place? If so, these complications would have been noted on there. Once again, these types of problems usually occur within a general dentist office and are less likely to occur at an oral surgeons office.

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