What happens when experts disagree? Clinical opinion can and will differ from dentist to dentist, and as this case shows, sometimes the best option is to bring the experts together...
In a case involving a failed restoration and associated endodontic treatment, it was agreed that the claim for the loss of a tooth should be settled on behalf of the clinician. As often happens, the lawyers acting on behalf of the patient were claiming the cost of bone grafting and an implant as the treatment of choice to replace the tooth.
A settlement on this basis was resisted in view of the patient’s history of poor oral hygiene and smoking. The patient’s lawyers produced an expert report recommending implant treatment for their client. The dentist’s indemnifier instructed a further expert to examine the patient and provide another opinion on the suitability of implant treatment.
This last expert was of the opinion that a denture was the treatment of choice (the patient had other maxillary teeth missing and only six lower anterior teeth remaining). As a result, the lawyer’s demand for payment of the full amount was resisted.
Eventually, a meeting was arranged between the two experts to try to resolve their differences. It was finally agreed that the patient was not an ideal candidate for an implant and settlement was agreed on the basis of a replacement denture at a significantly lower figure than the initial claim.
The most expensive treatment is not always in the best interests of a patient even when they are not paying.