LAS VEGAS, Nevada (KXAN) — Parents are growing concerned after a Las Vegas dentist allegedly set a fire inside the mouth of a 5-year-old girl during a routine procedure, NBC reports.
Dental experts are trying to alleviate these fears by calling the incident an unprecedented “freak accident.”
Last week the girl’s father filed a malpractice lawsuit against the dentist, Dr. Deep Karan Dhillon, in state district court. Dhillon is the owner of Just For Kids Dentistry and Orthodontics in the Las Vegas area.
The lawsuit states the girl was taken to Dhillon’s office in January of last year for a routine procedure to place crowns on her teeth. Dhillon used a tool called a diamond bur to prep the girl’s teeth while she was under general anesthesia. The tool allegedly produced a spark that set the cotton throat pack in the girl’s mouth to ignite and catch fire for one to two seconds.
The girl was hospitalized for four days at University Medical Center. She suffered burns and injuries to her epiglottis, throat, tongue, lips and surrounding areas, according to the lawsuit. The complaint also added the girl’s wounds may be “permanent and disabling.”
News of the incident raised new fears for many parents, but dental experts say something like this happening is a rare occurrence. However, they also stressed that parents should always be aware that any dental procedure comes with risks.
“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 Jonathan Shenkin, a spokesman for the American Dental Association and a professor at Boston University School of Dental Medicine, who has practiced dentistry for 16 years.
The girl’s family is seeking over $15,000 in damages.