There were mixed emotions as I researched the lawsuit launched by singer Leann Rimes after an extreme smile makeover gone wrong. She was a high risk client with high expectations, a pre-existing TMJ problem and emotional issues…but what patient these days doesn’t have a few issues? By promising a perfect smile dentists are setting themselves up for the occasional mega lawsuit, and some simply feel this goes along with the job.
When discussing this case with other dentists, some were defensive and blamed Rimes while others said the dentist obviously is in hot water for a reason. Simply knowing she went from veneers to crowns, to root canals to an extraction and gum infection puts me in the celebrity corner. OK, so I do enjoy finding potential examples of abusive cosmetic dentistry…but brought down to the basics you have an unhappy patient in pain and a dentist under the microscope.
There is a possibility that this could turn into the largest cosmetic dentistry malpractice suit in U.S. history. The expert witnesses will easily show how the dentist slipped up somewhere (like we all do) or at least could have chosen a different route. The celebrity seems to growing irritable from personal attacks from the press, a husband’s former wife and the public so striking out at the dentist that she feels hurt her would be coming from a place that is less than ideal. Many dentists work on patients who are either financially or emotionally stressed.
Recently one of our hygienists was accused of being too rough and knocking off an eight year old bridge fabricated at another clinic (she’d never had a similar complaint before this). The preparations were extremely short, the patient was a bruxer and she did not wear a splint. Explaining that a healthy bridge could not come off from a routine cleaning did not cut it, and I simply agreed to pay for the lab bill for repairing the chipped porcelain and re-cemented it at no cost. Certainly I am referring her to the prosthodontist because alarm bells are ringing.
As the celebrity lawsuit progresses we can all learn how to reduce our exposure to the same fate. Doing fewer porcelain veneers may be the first step. If the lawsuit settles for millions, the dentist may have a tough time finding malpractice insurance. Then what? To read what I would have suggested as a different solution for Rimes visit SnookiVeneers.com and click on the Leann Rimes webpage.