For many, attending their dentist is a traumatic experience. Unfortunately, the temporary discomfort of the drill is not always the end of it; cases of sub-standard dental treatment seem to be sharply on the rise.
If you have doubts that your treatment has been appropriate or competent, consult the Clinical Negligence Team, who are one of the most experienced and best respected teams of dental negligence lawyers in the UK.
Victoria Walker was shocked to discover her gum disease had gone unnoticed by her previous dentist for over three years. As a result she lost 6 teeth and needed extensive dental treatment.
The test is simply whether the treatment you have received is below the standard you should expect from a competent dentist. There are guidelines about what is acceptable practice, when your dentist should be detecting problems, and the types of outcome from treatment you shouldn’t have to put up with.
Sadly there are a few very common examples of circumstances which can give rise to dental negligence claims:
One of the most frequent that we see is of missed diagnosis of periodontal (gum) disease. If you have attended a dentist regularly over the years, and are suddenly told that you have severe gum disease which needs extensive treatment you are likely to have a successful claim, because the symptoms should have been acted on previously. Other common types of claim include poorly-fitting crowns or bridgework, and inaccurately performed root canal treatment.
The Clinical Negligence Team are experienced dental negligence lawyers who will be able to advise you on any concerns you may have with your dental treatment and whether you can make a claim.
Compensation in Dental Negligence claims is awarded in two categories: firstly for your pain and suffering and loss of ability to do the things that you used to be able to do and secondly for any direct financial losses which you have suffered or will suffer in the future.
A claim for a missed diagnosis of periodontal (gum) disease, for example, will include a sum for your pain and suffering, and often a much more significant sum (sometimes running into tens of thousands of pounds) for future treatment costs, as in the worst cases it might be necessary to claim for a full set of implants.
Simon Elliman, Partner in the Clinical Negligence Team, acted for Mr H following poor dental treatment. Mr H was in the care of the same dentist between 1981 and 2008. When that dentist retired, he was examined by a new dentist who, after examining Mr H on two occasions, eventually advised that he was suffering from chronic periodontitis.
The dentist advised Mr H that she would arrange for him to be referred to a periodontal expert but nothing further was mentioned about it until Mr H’s next routine check-up appointment some seven months later.
Mr H instructed the Clinical Negligence Team and during the course of investigations it was reaslised that the dentist did submit and initial letter of referral but then failed to correspond with the specialist any further and the appointment never took place. At the subsequent check-up Mr H was seen by a locum dentist who immediately arranged a referral. The periodontal specialist identified wide-spread bone loss throughout Mr H’s jaw.
Mr H has since had four teeth removed and will require extensive future treatment. All of his teeth are in very bad condition and it is likely that he will lose more of his teeth in the near future, which would have been avoided with appropriate care from his dentist. The defendant admitted liability and settled out of court for £65,000.
C attended a Dentist to enquire about having veneers fitted to 12 of her teeth because she wanted her teeth to be whiter. The Dentist fitted the veneers despite C suffering from gum disease at the time. He also failed to advise her that once the veneers were fitted it was irreversible and she would need to have them replaced regularly for the rest of her life.
The veneers were also fitted poorly and C suffered problems very quickly after with the veneers falling off one by one, meaning she needed to attend her dentist on several occasions to have them replaced.
The Clinical Negligence Team acted for C and brought a claim against the Dentist for the negligent dental treatment. As a result of the negligence C suffered several years of pain and regular treatment, and would then require all of the veneers to be replaced every 10-15 years for the rest of her life. The claim was settled out of court for £42,500 comprising compensation for C’s pain and suffering and past and future dental treatment costs.
Naomi Todd acted for Ruth who received £25,000 damages following the negligent failure of her treating dentists to perform adequate root canal therapy and adequate crownwork, bridgework and dentures.