Senior Trial Partner Jeffrey A. Shor obtained a defense verdict in a dental malpractice case. During the course of performing an oral evaluation of a four-year-old, our client made an incidental finding of either a fractured tooth or an extra tooth. Regardless of the diagnosis the dentist decided it was necessary to remove the fragment of tooth and proceeded to do so. The plaintiff claimed that during the course of the removal of the fragment the dentist caused a nerve exposure which led to a severe infection, a four-day hospitalization and the extraction of the tooth.
The defense argued that approximately one week after the dentist removed the fragment of tooth the infant was hit in the same area of her face as the removal of the fragment with a soccer ball. The defense further argued that it was the trauma from the soccer ball which caused the severe infection. The defense further argued that had the defendant caused a nerve root exposure the infant would have demonstrated sever and obvious clinical symptoms of a nerve root exposure including severe pain and discomfort which never occurred. The jury deliberated for less than thirty minutes and returned a verdict in favor of the defendant, pediatric dentist.