Dentist recommended to undergo training after performing root canal on wrong tooth

A New Zealand dentist breached the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights when he extracted the wrong tooth while performing a root canal.


Deputy Health and Disability Commissioner Kevin Allan today released a report outlining the events leading up to the error.

"A woman saw a dentist for treatment of inflamed gums, pus between her lower two front teeth, and pain," the report into the incident begins.

"The dentist diagnosed tooth 41 with inflammation at the tip of the tooth root and acute infection. The dentist gave the woman the options of root canal treatment or extraction. The woman decided to proceed with root canal treatment.

"When performing the procedure, the dentist performed the root canal treatment on tooth 31 rather than tooth 41."

It wasn't until the dentist reviewed radiographs that he noticed the error.

"He immediately informed the woman of the error, apologised, and advised her that regrettably tooth 41 still required treatment based on the original diagnosis.

"Mr Allan considered that by failing to isolate the correct tooth for the root canal treatment, the dentist did not provide services with reasonable care and skill. Mr Allan noted the dentist took appropriate action after the error was identified," the report states.

Mr Allan recommended the dentist apologise for his breach of the Code.

He also recommended the dentist participate in relevant training.

The dentist in question was not identified in the report.