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Dental malpractice - Alleged over-preparation of five anterior teeth for porcelain crowns - Failure to timely diagnose pulpitis.

Allegheny County

The plaintiff in this action, a female in her 50’s, contended that the defendant dentist negligently over-prepared teeth for crowns leading to pulpitis (inflammation of the pulp of a tooth).

The plaintiff also claimed that the defendant failed to diagnose the pulpitis or to make a proper referral for treatment of the condition. The defendant denied that the plaintiff’s teeth were over-prepared for the crowns and contended that the plaintiff’s development of pulpitis was not causally related to the dental treatment rendered.

The plaintiff’s dental expert testified that the defendant dentist removed too much tooth surface when he prepared five of the plaintiff’s anterior teeth for porcelain crowns. The over- preparation resulted in pain and development of pulpitis for which the plaintiff should have been referred to a specialist, according to the plaintiff’s expert.

The defendant’s dental expert testified, based on slides taken by a subsequent treating dentist, that the plaintiff’s anterior teeth were not over-prepared by the defendant. In fact, records showed that the subsequent treating dentist removed even more tooth surface from the teeth in question, according to the defendant’s expert. The defendant also argued that pulpitis is a natural consequence of tooth decay and was not caused by the treatment rendered by the defendant.

The jury found for the defendant in a general verdict form.

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