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Your guide to dental negligence

Dentist preparing equipment - dental negligence

Clinical negligence includes claims made against dentists who have provided substandard treatment..

Dental negligence is usually the result of a dentist failing to act appropriately and providing the patient with an unacceptable poor service.  Common mistakes can arise  during a check-ups or surgery, which can leave patients suffering in a great deal of pain and possibly, further complications.

You are owed an explanation

If you believe that you have  received poor dental  care, which has  caused  pain or left you suffering an avoidable injury you are owed an explanation and may well have  been the victim of dental  negligence.

Our dedicated clinical negligence team at Your Legal Friend have 30 years experience in successfully resolving many different types, and sometimes, complex negligence cases.

We can help you find out if:

  • You have  received substandard treatment from your  dentist
  • You can claim compensation for the injury you have suffered

More than one in ten complaints concern NHS dental care...

  • A total of 29.9 million NHS dental care patients were seen in the 24 month period ending 31 March 2014.*
  • An estimated 9.8 million Courses of Treatment (CoT) were carried out Jul-Sep, 2013-14.*

*NHS Dental Statistics for England:2013-14, Third Quarterly Report | Health and Social Care Information Centre)

  • 6,793 complaints were reported by patients over the dental care they received, i.e. 11.5 per cent of all NHS complaints received, 2013-14. ( Family Health Service)

A wide range of dental negligence issues...

A claim for dental negligence can involve a wide range of issues and complaints from damage caused to a tooth during a routine check-up  to extraction of a wrong tooth and a misdiagnosed dental illness.

The most common causes of dentist negligence

  • Administration Errors -  including the use of the wrong patient’s medical notes, which lead to an incorrect prescription and even mistakes made during a surgical procedure.
  • Misdiagnosis –  a dentist’s misdiagnosis or failure to notice a problem with teeth, gums or an oral health, including mouth cancer can lead to incorrect treatment being given, or delay in treatment, and can cause further complications.
  • Wrong diagnosis – leading to inappropriate or unsuitable treatment. Also includes taking insufficient action , a mis-judgment of the true nature or severity of the problem. In time, as the condition deteriorates, treatment becomes more difficult.
  • Substandard Treatment – can lead to losing teeth, scarring and will require further corrective treatment.
  • Delayed Referral – following a diagnosis of an infection, for example, the condition could worsen if left untreated.
  • Careless Dental Work – lack of proper care and attention can result in:
    • extraction of the wrong tooth.

    • crowns, bridges, implants or veneers fitted in the wrong way.

    • inadequate fillings or root canal therapy.

    • placing dental implements in an inappropriate or unsafe place.

    • negligent cosmetic dentistry.

  • Poor Standards of Hygiene – not all dental practices are stringent in using clean, sterile equipment.

Signs you may have a dental negligence claim...

  • Persisting pain – original symptoms continue after treatment or have become worse.
  • Nerve damage in your mouth – your tongue feels numb or your sense of taste has been affected since undergoing treatment.
  • Repeated procedures – failure by your dentist to correctly carry out the required treatment the first time could leave you still in pain and needing to repeat the same procedure to get it right a second time.

To succeed in a claim  for dental negligence...

You  must  establish that negligence, by your dentist has  caused   a preventable injury or worsening condition to your teeth or gums following treatment or surgery - not because you feel pain for a period afterwards.

Whatever type of damage was sustained, the injury must have been:

  • Avoidable ‘at the time and in the circumstances’, with proper treatment.
  • Caused by the negligent  from  your dentist or a member of his team employed by the practice such as a hygienist or dental nurse.

The time limit in which to claim for negligent dental treatment compensation

You must start your claim in Court within 3 years of the dental negligence or within 3 years of you becoming aware that you have suffered an injury as a result of negligence. Claims do not have to be resolved within this three-year period, as the full consequences of a dental injury caused by your dentist’s negligence or error may not yet be apparent however, it is important to start you claim as soon as possible.

How Your Legal Friend can help you

As experienced clinical negligence specialists, we know that if you or a member of your family feel you have received dental treatment or care below expected professional standards, you will want to seek genuine answers.

We are committed to ensuring victims of dental negligence have access to the answers they need  and the compensation they deserve, and which could prevent others from suffering unnecessarily in a similar way.