What to do if you suffer from dental negligence
If you feel you have been the victim of dental negligence then contact us and we will take full details from you with regards to your potential claim. This will include a full chronology of your treatment history from start to finish, and any other information necessary in order to make an assessment of your potential claim. If you have not already done so, keep a diary detailing your treatment and progress that has been made to date (and into the future) Collate any witnesses details/details of family members that have accompanied you to dentist appointments and/or are witnesses to the level of pain and suffering you have endured/continue to endure Keep receipts/details of all out of pocket expense you have incurred as a direct result of this claim e.g. loss of earnings/medical costs/travelling expenses/care costs etc.
Examples of dental negligence
Just like with medical negligence, cases of dental negligence can vary dramatically in terms of the type of negligence and the effects of it. Some common forms of dental negligence include:
- Poor treatmet planning that leads to either incorrect or clinically unnecessary treatment
- Inadequate Root Canal Treatment
- Failure to properly diagnose and then treat tooth decay or gum disease
- Veneer, crown and bridge treatments carried out unsatisfactorily
- Poorly performed tooth extractions and other oral surgical procedures
- Poorly planned and carried out orthodontic treatment
- Failure to properly diagnose and then treat oral cancer
- Unsatisfactory teeth whitening treatment
In general dentist negligence claims result from careless treatment that is not at the expected level, or from the wrong diagnosis and therefore treatment/surgery being carried out.
Dental negligence compensation heads of claim
A dental negligence compensation payout will typically feature two heads of claim: General Damages
and Special Damages
: General Damages
– these are paid to compensate the Claimant for the pain and suffering they have endured as a result of the negligent act. The amount of general damages will be calculated based on how severe the injury is and how this has impacted upon their day-to-day life and how it has effected their ability to work. In order to prove the extent of the injuries, medical records will need to be produced by the Claimant/their solicitor. Special Damages
– these are paid to compensate the Claimant for any expenses they have incurred as a result of the injury. Special damages can include costs from the day the injury occurred and any future predicted losses, such as:
- Emergency treatment
- The cost of extra dental treatment to repair/rectify the error
- Loss of earnings
- Travel costs
Types of dental negligence claim
Dental negligence can occur in a variety of different ways. We’ve outlined some of the most common types of dental negligence below, but note this is in no way an exhaustive list…
Cosmetic dentistry claims
As many of us aim for the ‘perfect smile’ of straight and white teeth, cosmetic dentistry is growing in popularity. Such treatments are sought to correct slight issues we have with our teeth, but if these treatments are not carried out correctly it can lead to a lot of avoidable pain and suffering in the patient. Some of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures that lead to negligence claims are…
- Crowns - A crown is used to protect or repair a tooth, and acts by mimicking the shape and colour of the original tooth. Poorly fitted crowns can cause damage to the teeth underneath, which can often lead to tooth decay. A badly-fitted crown can therefore lead to costly further dental procedures to either remove or repair the crown.
- Braces - The use of oral braces is a common treatment to straighten teeth. If the braces are not fitted correctly or maintained properly then patients can often experience a high level of pain and discomfort. On top of this, poorly-fitted braces will result in the finished teeth not being as straight as was intended – which could lead to further treatments to rectify the mistake.
Dental negligence in this area can also extend to patients not being given detailed enough information and advice on how to look after their teeth and braces throughout the duration of the treatment.
Nerve injury claims
Nerve injuries in the mouth and gums can be the result of mistakes made during dental surgery, including tooth extractions. This can lead to severe pain in patients, as well as physical deformities and even psychological issues. Nerve damage has the potential to be a very severe issue, so if you have suffered a nerve injury as a result of negligence it is important to seek advice as soon as possible. Some of the more common tooth nerve injury symptoms are:
- Pain in the jaw, cheek, forehead or eye
- Burning sensation in the jaw
- Loss of sensation
- Tingling in the mouth/jaw
- No control over saliva
- Tugging or pulling sensation on the tongue.
Oral cancer claims
A claim for oral cancer generally relates to the failure of the dentist to correctly diagnose the condition. The common symptoms of oral cancer are:
- Mouth ulcers
- Lumps on the gums or in the mouth lining
- Red or white patches in the mouth lining or tongue.
If you have been to the dentist with these symptoms and were not diagnosed with oral cancer but later were confirmed to be suffering from it, then you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
Periodontal disease claims
Periodontal disease is also known as gingivitis or gum disease, and can be a very painful condition if it is not diagnosed and treated quickly enough. As soon as the condition presents, patients can experience symptoms like bleeding or inflamed gums – particularly when brushing their teeth – which can cause infection if not treated early. If left untreated for too long then periodontal disease can develop which affects the tissue around the teeth as well as the jaw bone – which can lead to lost teeth. When these symptoms are seen by a dentist they should recommend improved oral hygiene practices at the earliest opportunity. Following that, X-rays should be taken and regular appointments made with a dental hygienist to keep an eye on the condition and ensure it is improving. If your dentist failed to notice gum disease and failed to act and provide the correct treatment then you could entitled to make a claim for compensation.
How to make a claim
Contact us and one of our dedicated Solicitors will be able to guide you through the legal process from start to finish with the least disruption to you. Please note that strict time frames apply when making any Personal Injury Claim so time is of the essence. Your case will be dealt with on a No Win No Fee Basis - meaning you pay nothing if your claim is unsuccessful.