Dental treatment claim

Robinson v Ng [2014] ACTSC 227 provides reasons for judgment in a claim against a dentist. It was alleged that during the course of an attempted extraction of a molar, part of the tooth root was pushed upwards through the wall of the patient’s sinus. Remedial surgery was required.

The court held at [135] – [136] that the dentist should have, at a certain point, ceased treating the patient and referred her to an oral surgeon or to a general dentist with experience in oral surgery.

Passing reference was made at [141] to a voluntary assumption of risk argument, as the dentist said that the patient refused to leave the surgery until he completed the procedure. However that defence was not pleaded.

The claim by the patient succeeded and damages were assessed, including for the onset of Bell’s Palsy which was held to be causally related: see [184].


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