Case Study

Impacted 38 - root fragment left behind

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Dr T’s patient attended the surgery in a lot of pain. Radiology revealed a vertically impacted 38. 

Dr T recommended that the patient get an Orthopantomogram (OPG) and consult a specialist as extraction can be difficult in such cases.

The patient was most reluctant to do so. He was a farmer and it was harvest time and insisted it be done that day.  Dr T reluctantly agreed and advised the patient that he would need to take antibiotics for the infection and return in a few days. 

The patient returned, the member explained the risks; the patient agreed and consented to exo of 38. The tooth was removed in multiple fragments and antibiotics continued.  The patient returned in a few days in severe pain.  It was then ascertained that a root fragment had been left behind. 

The patient was furious and threatened legal action.


  • patients need to be provided an informed consent with all warnings of the risks
  • don't be pressured into providing treatment for which you have not been trained and are not qualified to provide
  • always refer on to a more appropriate dental practitioner. 


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