In this case, a woman visited a dental practice with poor oral health and a treatment plan was drawn up for her. There was no issue until she had a filling replaced and a couple of days later, the tooth next to the one where the filling had been replaced broke. This caused the patient a lot of pain and she said when she contacted the practice she had to wait to get an appointment.
When she got an appointment, a dentist who had not given her the filling told her that sometimes giving a filling can cause a nearby tooth to break. She had an impression taken for a false tooth and was told the practice would get in touch as soon as it was ready. She said the practice never contacted her and that she sent emails to find out what was going on. She received no response and her tooth fell out. She decided she wanted an implant but was put on a waiting list.
The patient made her complaint to the practice. In response, the dentist who had performed the restoration said that when the patient’s treatment plan was given to her, she was informed that the tooth which fell out required a filling. She said she didn’t perform any procedure which caused the woman’s tooth to fall out and explained that sometimes the decay in a tooth is too big and it cannot be saved.
The patient said if she had known work being done on a tooth beside one that needed a filling could cause it to break, she would have made a more informed decision.
The dentist explained that the fact the tooth broke was not because there was work done on one beside it. It was because it needed a filling.
The patient said that she should have been informed that getting a filling done on that tooth was a priority and that it should have been done before she had any old fillings replaced. At this point, the patient brought her complaint to the DCRS.
The Service made contact with the dentist and outlined the complaint to her. She wrote that she only met the patient once on June 23, 2015 and performed the restoration. The dentist said she made a follow-up appointment for the patient for July 7, but she never turned up. Another appointment was made for July 23 but she failed to attend again.
On August 17, the patient returned to the clinic after her tooth broke. It was determined that the tooth could not be saved. The patient agreed that the rest of the tooth should be removed and to have an implant put in its place. An impression was taken for a temporary denture and an appointment made for her to have this fitted. She never attended for this appointment.
The dentist was upset that the patient was blaming her and her colleagues for her tooth fracturing. She pointed out that the patient had her initial appointment in 2014, but didn’t have a second one until mid 2015, and how she missed her follow-up appointments. She said she and her colleagues would be happy to resume the patient’s treatment whenever she wanted and asked the Service to communicate with the patient to see if she would be open to coming into the practice and talking with her. The patient agreed to this and after the meeting, the two parties came to an agreement.