Legal Question in Personal Injury in California

Personal Injury/Malpractice

I started my treatment for dental braces in Feb 2008. The purpose was to straighten my lower teeth. Now, I have higher cheek bones, a wider and bigger head, my nose feels pushed out and it is wider. I am furious. The orthodontist never told me that my facial structure would change with braces. I feel like I went in for a face lift instead! I suspect what has caused this is a palatal expander that was put into my upper jaw. If a palatal expander is suppose to widen one's face, or has the potential to do so, why would the orthodontist not inform me of the side effects or at least offer me an alternative solution? If I was presented with the information prior to expanding my upper palate, I would never have proceeded with dental braces. My face has become more square. My smile is not the same any longer. I am stunned and shocked by what has happened to my face. Also, now, my right jaw is completely out of socket and I have had jaw pain and headaches and eye pain associated with this. I am infuriated by this entire experience. What gives a person a right to change one's facial anataomy with informing them of to expect if I follow through with orhtodontic treatment? What are my rights as a patient, and what can I do?

Asked on 7/12/09, 4:48 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Joe Marman Law Office of Joseph Marman

Re: Personal Injury/Malpractice

As in any medical malpractice case, As I have answered previously on countless occasions regarding the viability of bringing a medical malpractice case, you must prove that your doctor's conduct and care fell below the normal standard of care of doctors practicing his same profession. You must prove that the doctor was negligent, and that most other doctors would have done things differently. You must pay a doctor to review your facts and give an opinion if the treating doctor was negligent. I charge for reviewing these cases.

Joe Marman [email protected]

Read more
Answered on 7/13/09, 5:04 pm
Armen Tashjian Law Offices of Armen M. Tashjian

Re: Personal Injury/Malpractice

This is bizzare; I've never heard of such side effects!

First,how do you know if your facial anatomy, actually skull has changed? I understand the fact that you think it has ocurred, but do you have any evidence that supports it? I'd suggest you go to another orthodontist (someone who doesn't know the prior doctor) and get an evaluation and opinion. If your claim is affirmed, you've got to ask for a report detailing what has ocurred.

Second, you may have a statute of limitations problem. But it is still unclear at this time.

Third, read your consent form carefully.

Fourth, do some research on PubMed or similar sites for any reports on these types of claims.

Fifth, get an evaluation from a psychologist or psychiatrist to confirm this is not just in your head. Yes, the defense will argue that you're crazy and making things up if you will not find a plausible medical theory with proof, such as medical records, photos, witnesses, etc.

Good luck and sorry to hear about this truly nasty medical mishap.

Read more
Answered on 7/13/09, 5:33 pm
Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

Re: Personal Injury/Malpractice

It sounds like a serious case, but for you to be able to file a case for such dental malpractice, you must have another orthodontist prepared to testify as an expert witness that there was malpractice/negligence by the treating dentist. Without that, you can't even file. Thus, you need to immediately seek a second opinion to corroborate your allegations and beliefs. Neither your opinion, nor mine, have any value without such expert testimony. If you think you can get that, feel free to contact me. I've been litigating cases for over 30 years.

Read more
Answered on 7/13/09, 7:17 pm

Related Questions & Answers

More Personal Injury Law and Tort Law questions and answers in California