Dentist covered up root canal mistake

Last updated 14:47 24/03/2014

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A dentist has been criticised for leaving a piece of instrument in a patient's mouth and attempting to cover up the mistake when his patient's mouth started to hurt.

The Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Theo Baker said the dentist broke the code of conduct for caring for his patient.

In her decision released today, she said the teenage patient was undergoing a root canal when part of dentist's fine instrument broke-off in the tooth.

The dentist noticed that part of his instrument was missing but did not tell the patient or record it.

When the teenager returned later complaining about the pain, the dentist made three separate attempts to retrieve the missing tool without ever telling his patient why.

The patient only found out when he went to another dentist.

Baker said the dentist had clearly breached his obligation towards his client, by failing to telling him about the mistake and they by trying to remove the instrument without his patient's knowledge.

The dentist has been referred on to the Director of Proceedings, which has the power to investigate further and seek further penalties.

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