10 answers

File Broke off in Tooth

Hi Moms! Last Thursday, my DH was having a root canal done at our local dentist office. Before the dentist finished, a piece of the file broke off in the tooth. He referred DH to an endodontist 40 miles away. After researching this on the internet, we found out that apparently this is something that can happen during a root canal, which we were totally unaware of. Nothing was ever said to my husband about it and he never signed anything before the procedure. The endodontist can't see DH until September 21st, so in the meantime our dentist put a temp filling in there. Here's our problem: the endodontist charges a minimum of $80 for a consultation fee, then $275 to extract the file (if they can). We feel the dentist should pay for the endodontist since it was his equipment that broke; he flat out refuses saying it is DH fault for letting his tooth get so bad that he needed a root canal. (He waited so long because we have NO dental insurance-we do have a Care Credit card and we figured we could pay for it over 6 months, which of course the endodontist doesn't accept.) An option would be to leave the file in there, and HOPE he doesn't have any reaction/infection from it. Has anyone had this happen? If so, did you have to pay for the endodontist? People have told us to get a lawyer and sue, but I really don't want to go that route. We feel we should not be liable for the endodontist, but obviously everything else (finish the root canal), we will be responsible for. What to do?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Look around for an endo that accepts care credit.
Do NOT leave the piece in there. If you do, you'll set him up for all kinds of problems -- including infection that can go from the mouth to the brain in no time.
LBC

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I would defininetly get the file taken out. I've had a number of root canals over the years and have never had an issue like this. Do you have a regular credit card you can use to pay the endodontist? I would not leave it in there.

Once it's been removed I'd go to small claims court. In NY there's a small fee ($25 or $45?) to file the claim. It's designed jsut for stuff like this. You make your case to the judge or arbitrators (in my county since small claims court is so busy they will ask people to volunteer to see the arbitrator - the process is almsot identical to seeing hte judge). The process is similar to what you see on Judge Judy (without the drama and weirdo family members & friends showing up!). State your case very simply, and bring all financial back-up with you. Generally the decisions in small claims court are a split down the middle. If your costs to see the endodontist come to $200 you should expect to get $100 settlement in small claims court. If you can find anything in dental text books or online material from legitiamate sources that state/imply any kind of negligence or poor technique causes this you have a better argument to get a greater percentage of your money back.

As for the dentist stating that it's your hsuband's fault for letting his tooth get so bad - I find that crazy. I've learned that some people who have flat smooth tops of their teeth are less likely to have problems since stuff doesn't get stuck in their teeth. While other people have deep crevices and get cavities no matter what they do. (my ex-husband NEVER brushed his teeth at bedtime, ate tons of sugary foods and never had cavities!!!) If people didn't have bad teeth dentsits wouldn't have jobs... knucklehead.

4 moms found this helpful

An alternate possible solution would be to find an endodontist that will accept your care credit card. If that isn't possible, then I would seriously consider getting an attorney to handle the matter.

2 moms found this helpful

I like the advice you've already received about finding an endo who DOES accept your Care card, getting the file removed and possibly filing a small claim against the dentist. Get a free consultation from an attorney before you file. RC's a re best done by an endodontist!
Things like this are why everyone should have a "SH Fund" (Sh*t Happens)!

2 moms found this helpful

I have had several root canals and so has my husband. Not once has a file broken in our teeth. I would feel the same as you. I would ask around. I would not want to pay for it either. That would be like a dr telling you oops I left a sponge in you and you have to have another surgery to get it out and you have to pay for it. I think that a dentist need to have insurance to cover them just like a dr does.

2 moms found this helpful

Look around for an endo that accepts care credit.
Do NOT leave the piece in there. If you do, you'll set him up for all kinds of problems -- including infection that can go from the mouth to the brain in no time.
LBC

1 mom found this helpful

find a new dentist-do not pay the old one-they are completely at fault-i just had this done this spring-i was never warned about anything like that...sounds like shoddy dentist work to me...always get a 2nd opinion...good luck

1 mom found this helpful

I believe that a broken file is a pretty common occurrance. I'm sure that when you filled out paperwork, somewhere, they had you fill out something that said they are not liable for XYZ. NOt that it would necessarily hold up in court.

I think that in the future, it's best to pay the extra money and get the RC from an endo. They are the specialists. But broken files happen there, too.

Sorry and good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

You absolutely need to get the file removed, and ASAP! Look around for a endo that will accept the Care Credit, or do a payment plan. At the very least go to the ER if needed.

Yes I agree that your dentist should contribute if not pay for the endo adjustments. Especially if your husband didn't sign any warning papers before the proceedure started. I would definitely speak to a lawyer. You can post the question on lawyers.com and see what the general response is.

M.

1 mom found this helpful

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