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The cosmetic dentistry boom and what you should look out for

  • Surgical instruments lying on top of a sterile autoclave bag.
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    The quest for the perfect smile has led to a cosmetic dentistry boom in recent years, with experts estimating that the 100 largest dental firms have increased their turnover by almost 25% in four years. Ben Lees explores the trend and helps you understand what to look out for if you are considering treatment.

    By Ben Lees

What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is becoming more and more popular. Unfortunately, for some the pursuit of the perfect smile can turn into a traumatic experience.

Cosmetic dentistry includes a wide variety of procedures including:

  • crown and bridge work
  • orthodontic work
  • gum contouring
  • veneers (where part of the tooth enamel is removed and replaced with a thin shell of porcelain or composite material to improve the appearance of a tooth)
  • bleaching/tooth whitening
  • the replacement of amalgam fillings with which composite cosmetic fillings
  • dentures.

Some cosmetic dentistry is more invasive than others, but all of them have risks. It is therefore very important to understand the nature of the treatment you are having, and what could go wrong before you undergo the treatment.

What can go wrong with a cosmetic dentistry procedure?

Some examples of negligent cosmetic dentistry include:

  • poorly fitting crowns where they are hard to clean and food gets trapped underneath causing gum disease and other issues
  • badly fitted veneers that fall off, or are the wrong size causing discomfort
  • ill-fitting bridge that create a food trap and are hard to clean, sometimes breaking and falling out, or are placed on teeth that are not suitable due to damage or decay
  • unnecessary orthodontics causing damage to teeth and financial loss
  • excessive sensitivity following the placement of white composite fillings
  • failing of white fillings
  • poor outcome of dental work due to a dentist carrying out work in too many quadrants of the mouth at one time.

What can I do if my cosmetic dentistry was negligent?

If you think that you might have received negligent care, then you may be entitled to a compensation claim. This can help you to get through the physical and mental pain that can result from a botched cosmetic surgery, and even pay for further treatment to fix the issue.

For example, compensation consists of three main strands:

  • General damages – this is an amount which is designed to compensate you for your pain and suffering (formally referred to as ‘pain, suffering and loss of amenity’. These awards are usually set by the Court with reference to the Judicial College Guidelines
  • Special damages – this largely relates to past financial losses that you have incurred, such as any dental treatment you have required as a result of the negligence, travel costs to appointments, loss of earnings etc.
  • Future losses – this sets out the losses that you are likely to incur in the future that have arisen as a result of the injury. This could include the costs of remedial treatment and future travel costs amongst others.

You can read all our FAQS and find out more about making a cosmetic surgery compensation claim here.

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