Examples of dental negligence claims
There are many forms of dental negligence that could lead to a successful No Win No Fee compensation claim. To learn more about how we can help, fill out our quick claim form now.
Mistakes made during dental treatment can be a painful and distressing time for the patient.
The term dental negligence refers to any type of injury that has either been directly caused, worsened or ignored by a dentist or other dental health professional.
If this has happened to you then you could be entitled to make a No Win No Fee claim for compensation.
Below we have identified some of the more common types of dental negligence claims we deal with. If you have any questions or would like to find out if you have a claim, get in touch with CL Legal today.
Dental negligence examples
Below we have outlined the most common forms of dental negligence:
- Failure to get consent for dental treatment
- Cosmetic dentistry gone wrong
- Tooth extraction claims
- Failure to diagnose gum disease
- Fillings and restorative dentistry gone wrong
- Failed root canal claims
- Wisdom tooth extraction claims
Failure to get consent for dental treatment
All dentists are required by law to obtain consent from a patient before going ahead with any treatment.
Most of us accept any treatment a dentist suggests without questioning or even fully understanding the procedure, as we trust that our dentist knows better than us. This is all fine until a dental treatment goes wrong and leaves the patient in pain and facing further distressing procedures to correct the error.
Valid consent for dental treatment is only obtained after the dentist has:
- Provided the patient with all of the necessary information about the proposed procedure, including the risks associated with it and the alternative treatments available
- Ensured the consent has been given voluntarily (i.e. without being manipulated or coerced)
- Ensured that the patient has the ability to understand the procedure i.e. why it is needed, what it entails and what the potential consequences are
Cosmetic dentistry gone wrong
There are a lot of different dental treatments that are referred to as ‘cosmetic’ procedures. These can include:
- White fillings
- Teeth whitening
- Invisible braces
Although the vast majority of these treatments are carried out successfully, sometimes things can go wrong. Some examples of a cosmetic dental treatment claim include:
- Poorly fitted veneers that either fall off or cause discomfort
- Ill-fitting crowns that lead to gum disease due to being difficult to clean
- Badly fitting bridge that may break or fall out, or is fitted on unsuitable teeth
Some cosmetic treatments are a lot more invasive than others and have different degrees of longevity. As with all dental treatments, it is important that you fully understand the nature of the procedure and how long it will last.
Tooth extraction claims
Having a tooth taken out is the type of dental treatment we all dread. Thankfully most tooth extraction procedures are carried out without any complications and, after the initial distress, we can get back to normal.
However, sometimes things do go wrong and the patient can suffer a lot of undue pain and distress.
During an extraction procedure the tooth can fracture. In such an instance the dentist should carry out an x-ray on the remaining roots before proceeding any further. If the dentist carries on with the extraction but does not have the experience or skill to complete it successfully then this could become a case of dental negligence.
It is also possible for nerves to be damaged, which could be because of an inadequate level of care during the extraction.
Some dental negligence cases also involved the dentist taking out the wrong tooth, which can also form the basis of a no win no fee dental negligence claim.
Failure to diagnose gum disease
Gum disease – or periodontal disease/periodontitis – is one of the most common human diseases, and can be treated quite easily and effectively if it is caught in its early stages.
If left untreated, gum disease can cause irreversible problems with the bone that holds your teeth in place within the jaw – known as periodontal disease. This can ultimately lead to gum recession, further infections, pain and loss of teeth.
Usually, gum disease is not painful until it reaches quite an advanced stage, so you may be unaware you have it until you visit your dentist for a check-up.
If you have had regular dental check-ups and have still developed gum disease then your dentist may have failed to spot the signs and correctly diagnose gum disease – which could be considered dental negligence.
All dentists have a duty of care to provide a thorough and high level of service to their patients, which includes identifying cases of gum disease and advising patients about the best course of action. If they fail to spot the early signs of gum disease and it worsens into a more severe case then you could be entitled to make a compensation claim.
Fillings and restorative dentistry gone wrong
‘Restorative’ dentistry includes procedures that aim to restore your teeth if they become decayed or damaged. Some of the more commonly known examples of restorative dentistry include:
A lot of dental negligence claims that arise from restorative treatments can be attributed to the dentist not diagnosing or adequately treating instances of tooth decay. This can lead to claims involving negligence such as:
- Badly-fitting crowns, or incorrect crown treatment
- Unnecessary or preventable tooth extraction
- Failure to correctly treat tooth decay
- Poorly executed fillings, usually with decay left in the tooth
- Poor treatment planning
Failed root canal claims
Root Canal Treatment (RCT), also known as endodontic treatment, is a procedure used by dentists to treat teeth that have become infected or have died. The treatment involves removing the dead or dying part of the tooth and then ‘filling in’ the root canals inside.
Teeth can become infected when bacteria enters the nerve inside the tooth, due to tooth decay, existing or leaking fillings or trauma.
Root canal treatment is a very invasive type of dental procedure which has the potential for complications. Patients could be entitled to make a root canal compensation claim if their dentist:
- Broke an instrument inside the root canal during treatment
- Failed to remove the nerve completely
- Perforated instruments through the side of the tooth
- Failed to clean or fill the canals properly, which resulted in infection
- Failed to get informed consent from the patient
- Failed to advise the patient of any alternative, less intrusive and less costly treatments
- Made errors during the procedure that led to pain and further infection
Wisdom tooth extraction claims
The ‘wisdom’ teeth or third molars are the last of our teeth to come through, usually in our late teens or early twenties. Sometimes there is not enough room for the wisdom teeth to come through, meaning they can grow at an angle (impacted) or only come through partially (partial eruption).
Some cases of impacted wisdom teeth cause no issues at all, although in many cases the impaction can cause pain and make keeping the area clean difficult – resulting in the build-up of bacteria. This can lead to several issues, including:
- Pain and discomfort
- Decay of the wisdom tooth or the surrounding teeth
- Inflammation and soreness of the gum
Treatment for an impacted wisdom tooth can be as simple as using anti-bacterial mouthwash to reduce the risk of infection, but in some cases an extraction is required. Extracting a wisdom tooth can be a complicated procedure, with potential complications such as:
- Dry Socket – an infection in the empty tooth socket, which is more likely if the procedure was lengthy and/or difficult or if there was not appropriate after-care.
- Damage to the adjacent molar tooth
- Nerve Damage – This can lead to debilitating numbness in the tongue, teeth, gums, lower lip and chin – which can either be temporary or permanent
When carried out by an experienced and skilled dentist, a wisdom tooth extraction can be a straightforward procedure with no lasting effects. However, as will all dental procedures, there is an element of risk associated and, unfortunately, some dentists can make mistakes – either during the treatment itself or by failing to provide a high level of after-care.
If you feel you have suffered an injury due to dental negligence following a wisdom tooth extraction then you could be eligible to make a claim for compensation.