Woman wants teeth fixed after assistant botched crowns

Kelly Holleran Nov. 10, 2009, 1:20pm

A woman has filed suit against a Beaumont dentist, alleging she will be forced to incur costs of more than $12,000 to replace eight crowns the dentist improperly place on her teeth.

Janie St. Clergy claims she visited defendant dentist Claud Perry at co-defendant Lovett Dental on Sept. 26, 2007, so a non-dental assistant could perform crown preparation work on six of Clergy's teeth.

However without St. Clergy's permission, a non-dental assistant also prepared two additional teeth and placed temporary crowns on them, according to the complaint filed Oct. 30 in Jefferson County District Court.

To allow a non-dental assistant to perform such work is a violation of state dental law, the suit states.

After the non-dental assistant completed the work, no follow-up appointment was made except for a routine six-month checkup in March 2008, the complaint says.

So, St. Clergy waited until the March checkup, but was never told additional work needed to be performed on her crowns.

She claims the crowns were too short and food was embedding itself between her crown and her tooth, causing serious decay and causing St. Clergy to have problems any time she attempted eat or drink anything cold.

By the spring of 2009, St. Clergy was still experiencing discomfort and visited another dentist about her problems, the suit states.

"At that time, plaintiff learned that all eight crowns had been placed with inadequate preparation, seating, and follow-up, resulting in the development of poor fit, open margins that allowed entry of fluids and food into her crowns and teeth, causing dental decay," the complaint says. "As a result of the poor dental care by defendants, plaintiff will need to have all her crowns removed and redone and will need at least one root canal and one tooth removed and replaced with an implant. The cost of plaintiff's necessary remedial dental work exceeds $12,000."

Because of the work performed at Lovett Dental, St. Clergy has suffered impairments, has been significantly disfigured, has incurred medical costs, has endured physical and mental pain, suffering, anguish and emotional distress and has suffered a loss of her enjoyment of life, she claims.

St. Clergy blames the defendants for breach of standard of care.

She is seeking a declaration that all limitations imposed by the Texas Medical Act upon the claims in her lawsuit be declared null.

In addition, she is seeking actual, exemplary, special and general damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

She will be represented by Kenneth W. Lewis of Bush Lewis in Beaumont.

The case has been assigned to Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: A185-246.

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