After a bench trial, Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Ronald B. Rubin awarded $404,592 to a dental patient who alleged that she had been a victim of unnecessary treatment -- the placement of twenty crowns on mostly on virgin teeth. The Court found also that defendant had not obtained informed consent. The award included the costs of root canal therapy resulting from negligent over-preparation of the crowned teeth and future expenses including crown replacement and implant therapy. The non-economic award included past and future pain and suffering.
Plaintiff Haidi Sun presented to defendant Anita Pik Lui Ho, DDS for general dental care. To correct a mild orthodontic rotation of her two front teeth, defendant recommended crowns on six upper front teeth. Defendant failed to offer options for less invasive treatment, including orthodontic treatment. Plaintiff contended that the crowns, once placed were not esthetic and created a malocclusion. Defendant then performed crown therapy on additional teeth. Following the placement of twenty crowns by defendant, plaintiff suffered a traumatic occlusion and could not chew or fully close her mouth. The twenty crowns were misshapen, did not have adequate margins when seated and did not match each other or her natural teeth in color or shape. All of the crowns were then replaced by a specialist in restorative dentistry. Plaintiff underwent multiple root canal treatments on most of the teeth crowned and treating doctors and experts for plaintiff opined that she would have potential loss of many of her natural teeth, necessitating future implants.
Defendant contended unsuccessfully that plaintiff rejected orthodontic therapy and was so happy with the initial six upper crowns that she requested additional upper and lower teeth be crowned to match. Defense experts testified that the standard of care was met and that the proposed future treatment was over-priced. In its decision, the Court rejected defense expert opinion as not well founded or credible.