I went in to see an Elgin emergency dentist over a tooth abscess on my back left molar. I’m already terrified of doctors, so when he told me that the tooth had to be pulled, I wanted to bolt from the chair. He offered to do dental sedation then and there, so I could get it done with and move on. It sounded like a good idea at the time and he seemed like he was an ok guy. I knew I was sore when I left, but it wasn’t until the next day that I looked at the underside of my tongue and realized he’d put stitches in it. I called the office up and asked about it. The lady then told me that it was my fault- that I moved during surgery and the dentist caught my tongue with the drill. She acted like I was some degenerate, as if I had caused the problem myself. She also said that they told me about it before I left. She had quite an insulting tone. My question is this: Could he have done permanent damage and do I need to get checked out by another dentist? Are there other followups that should be done in cases like this? And, is this considered negligence on the emergency dentist’s part?
Sorry you had such a bad experience with an emergency dentist. There are several different aspects to cover about what happened.
First off, the tongue naturally rests on your molars, so the dentist should have been retracting it during surgery or should have had an assistant helping him with it. Most people who are under sedation don’t move. They couldn’t care less about what’s happening around them, so it’s really odd that you’d react while under sedation. Perhaps your heightened sense of anxiety made it tougher for the medications to work or maybe they just didn’t give them enough time to work. You’ll probably never know for sure what happened with that and what events led up to the wound, but at this point, there’s nothing to suggest that what they said was inaccurate.
Because he followed normal medical protocol following the injury and performed the stitches, it sounds like he responded to it correctly as well.
The office should have had you sign a release form before they sedated you. These are standard in the industry, just like what you’d see in a medical office, and explain all the potential risks associated with treatment. If they followed the legally-required informed consent procedures before starting treatment, then they’re also in the clear legally-speaking.
It would have been nice if they had followed up with you after and talked to you more about the injury, but it doesn’t sound like any negligence occurred. As far as having it checked out by another dentist goes, that’s up to you. If it feels like it’s healing well, you probably don’t need to. If it starts hurting or feels like it’s getting infected, it should be checked out. Based on your experience, though, you should choose a different Elgin emergency dentist for this.
This blog is sponsored by Elgin emergency dentist, Dr. Steve Sirin.