Dentist removed wrong tooth

Summary 969 |

Periodontist indicated the wrong tooth when he referred patient to dentist. The dentist did not check, and removed another tooth.

What happened

Ms P's had been seeing a periodontist, a dentist who specialises in treating gum disease. The periodontist referred Ms P to the dentist as she needed to have a tooth extracted. The periodontist wrote to the dentist to ask for UR7 (upper right seven) to be extracted. When the dentist saw Ms P, she saw that UR7 was missing but UR6 and UR8 were both in a poor condition. She examined Ms P's teeth and took out UR8 as it appeared to be worse than UR6.

Two months later, Ms P visited the periodontist and he said that the dentist had taken out the wrong tooth. Ms P developed an infection under UR6 and so she went back to the dentist who took it out. Ms P said that the second extraction was complicated because the tooth had also broken, and she found the procedure stressful.

Ms P was unhappy as she said the dentist had removed the wrong tooth the first time, and that led to a delay in treating UR6 which caused her to suffer an infection.

What we found

We partly upheld this complaint. The dentist was right to say that UR7 was not present but she should have checked this with the periodontist rather than deciding for herself which tooth to extract. However, we found that both UR8 and UR6 had a poor long–term prognosis, and it was likely that Ms P would have gone on to have problems with UR8 if the dentist had not taken it out.

Putting it right

The Practice apologised to Ms P and the dentist acknowledged that she could have sought clarification before carrying out the extraction on UR8.

Health or Parliamentary
Organisations we investigated

A dental practice



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