Dental Tribune International

Lawsuit alleges American dentist sparked fire in patient’s mouth during procedure

By Dental Tribune International
January 14, 2020

LAS VEGAS, U.S.: According to a recently filed lawsuit, a 5-year-old girl has had her mouth set on fire while receiving routine dental treatment. As a result, her parents are now seeking more than $15,000 in damages, since some of her injuries may be “permanent and disabling” in their nature.

As outlined by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the lawsuit claims that the patient was taken to Just for Kids Dentistry and Orthodontics in January 2019 for restoration with crowns. Dr. Deep Karan Dhillon, owner of the dental practice, placed her under general anesthesia for the procedure and proceeded to use a diamond bur to prepare the teeth.

The instrument produced a spark that caused a throat pack in the girl’s throat to catch fire and it continued to burn for 1 or 2 seconds, the lawsuit alleges. The girl was rushed to University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, where she was reportedly hospitalized for four days to receive treatment for burns to her palate and lower lip.

“It is my opinion that Just for Kids breached the standard of care by failing to adequately protect the airway, and committing a series of acts which set up a truly ‘incendiary’ situation,” wrote Dr. Donald Testa, a California-based oral and maxillofacial surgeon, in an affidavit filed along with the lawsuit.

Though the incident has drawn considerable attention and raised concerns in the U.S., Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, a spokesman for the American Dental Association and a clinical associate professor at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine, has categorized it as a “freak accident.”

“This procedure is performed thousands of times by pediatric dentists, and I’ve never heard of this or known for this to have ever happened before,” said Shenkin. “Some sort of series of freak incidences occurred that allowed this to happen,” he added.

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