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How To Claim Compensation For Dental Negligence24th Nov 2021

by Chris Whittle on 24th Nov 2021

Contact Chris Whittle

Dental negligence claims can range from thousands to tens of thousands of pounds of compensation depending on the treatment needed.

Recently Coles Miller helped one client who had root canal treatment and in the course of this the dentist perforated the tooth, causing further damage to the already damaged tooth. Our client went on to require a further course of painful root canal treatment and received £3,000 in compensation. Another client aged in her ‘60s was helped by Coles Miller to claim £60,000 in compensation after virtually all her teeth had to be replaced with implants. She had severe gum disease due to errors by her dentist.

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What Is Dental Negligence?

Dental negligence occurs when your dentist makes an error in your treatment that causes you an injury – eg. you lose a tooth or that you require treatment that you would not have needed had the negligence not have taken place.  

Can I Claim For Dental Negligence?

You can if we can prove that your dentist was negligent. In the first instance we would write to your dentist and request your dental records. I would review those records and if there appears to have been negligence, I will then usually obtain a report from an independent dentist, who will set out what (if anything) went wrong. We then use that report as the basis to send a letter of claim to your dentist, setting out full details of the claim that you are going to make against them.
 

How Long Does A Dental Negligence Claim Take?

A dental negligence claim will usually take between 2 and 3 years. Some will be a bit quicker than this and some will take considerably longer, especially if we need to issue a court claim against the dentist.
 

What Sort Of Compensation Could I Receive?

Compensation depends on the type of injury that you suffer and how much it will cost to sort it out. For example the loss of a single back tooth will be valued at about £1,500, but then if you were to add in the cost of having an implant to replace the tooth, and the on going maintenance of that implant for the rest of your life, you are adding around £5,000 on to your original £1500. After all, dental treatment is expensive.
 
At the top end are claims where gum disease isn’t properly monitored and/or treated and you can end up losing the majority of your teeth and require almost a full set of implants. At their most severe these cases can be worth close to £100,000.

See how much your claim could be worth by using our online claims calculator.
 

What About Cosmetic Dentistry?

We are increasingly seeing clients consulting us with regards to cosmetic dental treatment that doesn’t go according to plan. These clinics are popping up all over the place and it is very important to make sure that your treatment is being provided by a qualified dentist. We have dealt with claims for clients who have gone for teeth whitening treatment, to subsequently find out that the person providing that treatment has no formal dental training at all.
 
We are also being consulted by adults who have undergone teeth straightening procedures with the use of removable aligners, rather than the fixed braces that teenagers and young adults often wear.

This treatment is usually offered by general dental practitioners who have had some training in the use of the aligners, but far less than the specialist orthodontist would have done. Often it seems that patients are not being given the correct information about the use of the aligners and as a result are finding that they have achieved disappointing results from this relatively expensive treatment.
 

The Impact Of Covid-19.

Like many other fields of medicine, dentistry has been severely impacted by the pandemic, with dental surgeries having to close for several months during the first lockdown in 2020 and since then having to operate at reduced capacity as a result of having to ensure enhanced cleaning is carried out between patients and the need to leave consulting rooms empty for periods of time after performing certain treatments. 

This has caused a backlog of treatment to build up in most surgeries. However it is important to stress that if you do feel that you need urgent treatment and you are not being offered it in a timely way at your dental practice and you go on to experience worse problems as a result, this can be negligent on the part of the Practice.
 
It should also be noted that you must make sure you are booked in for your regular check ups, even if you do have to wait lonoger than usual. These check ups are vital in maintaining good dental health – spotting problems such as tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancers.

 

You’re Not Suing The NHS

Many people are reluctant to take legal against the NHS. But you’re not suing the NHS when you claim compensation for dental negligence.

You’re suing your dentist. Not his or her practice. Not the health service. Just the one dentist who made the mistakes – regardless of whether they are NHS or private.

If you have been a victim of bad dentistry you will need compensation to put the mistakes right. You may require private dentistry.

Corrective dental work can be expensive – as much as £2,500 per tooth for dental implants.


Types Of No Win No Fee Dental Claims

Compensation claims for dental negligence are more common than you might expect. They include:

  • Accidents during cosmetic dental procedures (which include teeth whitening, porcelain veneers, composite bonding, inlays/onlays, contouring and reshaping)
  • Mistakes during crown or bridge work
  • Failed root canal procedures
  • Loose or poorly fitted dental implants
  • Unnecessary extraction of a tooth (or removal of the wrong tooth)
  • Orthodontal procedures which have failed to correct irregular teeth or caused further problems
  • Poor filling of cavities
  • Errors during gum surgery
  • Failure to treat gum disease correctly, leading to tooth loss or other medical consequences.


Find Out More About Claiming

For more information, contact Coles Miller Partner Chris Whittle, a personal injury solicitor who specialises in No Win No Fee dental negligence claims, 01202 355695.