National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC): Expressing that, the consensus between the dentists and patients is essential to standardize treatment plans and methods, Coram of Justice R.K. Agrawal (President) and Dr S.M. Kantikar (Member) addressed a case of dental negligence and remarked that,
“The teeth are only part of the face and it cannot be simply concluded that the whole face will become more beautiful once the teeth become neat.”
Not everyone can be born with a perfectly aligned smile. If you just changed your smile and nothing else, you would find a dramatic transformation in your personality, grace, confidence, appearance and social presence. When one or more teeth overlap, it can impact the smile and self-esteem.
Revision petition was filed under Section 21(b) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 against the impugned order passed by the Andhra Pradesh Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, Hyderabad.
What was the core issue?
There was an allegation of dental negligence, wherein the dentists at the OP Hospital unnecessarily performed the Root Canal Treatment (RCT) of 4 teeth and provided metal ceramic crowns causing disfigurement of the face of the complainant.
Present revision was filed by the OP, since the State Commission had directed the OP Hospital to pay Rs 5 lakhs with interest at the rate of 9% p.a. as compensation and Rs 10,000 towards the cost of litigation.
Analysis and Decision
Coram found that the OP was liable for deficiency in services and unfair practices on three counts:
Firstly, there was no grip/retention capacity of crowns in upper teeth, therefore more chances of felling of the crowns during talking, brushing etc. which is certainly an embarrassment.
Secondly, it was unfair on the part of the Opposite Party that the crowns are not metal free ceramic as promised and billed by the Opposite Party but they are metal ceramic
Thirdly, the Complainant was not informed about the implications of RCT as to the teeth would be made non-vital.
The consensus between dentists and patients is essential to standardize treatment plans and methods. In dental treatment, patients often ask orthodontists if they will look more beautiful and have doubts about the ultimate aesthetic effects. Also there is need to calibrate the perception between dentists and patients about the classification of aesthetics into unpleasant, acceptable, and pleasant; otherwise there may be some conflicting views on expectations and treatment. The teeth are only part of the face and it cannot be simply concluded that the whole face will become more beautiful once the teeth become neat.
In view of the above discussion, OP was held liable for medical negligence and deficiency in services since complainant suffered facial disfigurement after dental treatment. [Sravani Dental Hospital v. Anitha Tangellamudi, Revision Petition No. 2736 of 2012, decided on 8-3-2022]