When visiting the dentist, you expect to receive a high standard of care and feel better after treatment. While this is usually the case, dental mistakes can happen during your treatment. If you have suffered an injury as a result of a dentist’s mistake, you may be able to make dental negligence claims.
The impact of dental negligence can be devastating; there may be need for further treatment and, in some cases, the loss of teeth. Let us discuss some of the most common dental mistakes and what you can do if you have been a victim.
What are the Most Common Dental Mistakes?
The following are some of what is classed as dental negligence:
Before a tooth extraction is done, a dental professional must carefully assess the tooth to be removed, plan an extraction procedure and exercise care when performing the extraction. Some common tooth extraction mistakes include extracting the wrong tooth, damage to nerve due to lack of proper care, serious jaw bone fracture due to use of excessive force, and damage to other teeth, crowns or bridges.
Dental Implant Negligence
A dental implant is a surgical fixture and serves as the roots of a missing tooth. A dental professional should carry out a dental procedure with the necessary care, skills and expertise. Common dental implant mistakes include:
- Placing the implant when the patient does not have sufficient bone in the gum or there is an active gum disease;
- Placing the implant on a nerve or too close to other teeth or dental implants;
- Fitting the crown or bridge into an implant before it completely integrates into the gum;
- Placing the implant at a wrong angle, causing the patient pain and infection.
Failing to obtain Consent
Your dentist owes you a duty of care to properly explain a dental treatment or procedure, your options as well as the risks associated with each option so you can give an informed consent. When your dentist fails in this regard, this may be deemed dental negligence and you may be entitled to a dental negligence claim.
Misdiagnosis and Inadequate Treatment of Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease causes the gums to become red, swollen and bleed. It damages the soft tissues of the gum and, if left unchecked, causes permanent damage to the bone supporting the teeth. To reduce the impact of its damage, it is important that dental professionals diagnose periodontal disease as early as possible by looking out for the signs of the condition.
Once diagnosis has been made, it is important for a dentist to quickly administer appropriate treatment and carefully monitor the treatment plan to ensure alterations can be made if it is not effective in controlling the disease. If your periodontal disease has gotten worse or you have suffered further problems due to misdiagnosis or inadequate treatment, you may be able to make a claim for dental malpractice.
Do I Have a Dental Negligence Claim?
Dental negligence cases arise when a patient sustains a preventable injury while under the care of a dentist. As discussed above, dental negligence can be due to a number of reasons; as with any type of medical negligence claim, you will need to prepare evidence to prove that you suffered negligent treatment. The better prepared your dental negligence solicitors are when representing you, the better your chance of successfully making a claim. Here are a few things you can do to prepare for your claim:
- Document Your Injury
When you visit a doctor or hospital for the treatment of your injury, request that they note their opinion on how long recovery will likely take and how well you will recover.
- Obtain Necessary Information
Find out the names of dental professionals responsible for the negligent treatment you received if possible. Also find out the name of the dental clinic – whether it is a private practice or cosmetic clinic.
- Take Note of the Financial Impact
Have you missed work, lost earnings or spent money on unexpected trips or medication out of your own pocket? Write these down so they can be included in your claim.
- Contact a Solicitor
Armed with all the relevant facts of your claim, get in touch with a dental negligence solicitor.
Medical Negligence Direct works with a panel of specialist solicitors who, with the help of a medical expert, will determine the severity and impact of your injury and advise you on whether we think you have legitimate grounds for a claim.
What Can I Claim for Due to Dental Negligence?
Making compensation claims for dental negligence involves the calculation of both tangible and intangible costs. While some expenses like money spent on medication are pretty straightforward to calculate, others are not so simple; for instance, how do you value pain and suffering? Luckily, the Judicial College Guideline provides a framework for attaching value to the discomfort caused by an illness or injury due to negligence.
Most dental claims will be made up of one or more of the following types of damages:
- General Damages
This is compensation for all the direct impact of the negligent treatment, where the injuries can be linked to the actions or behaviour of the defendant. Examples of general damages include pain, loss of mobility and psychological trauma.
- Special Damages
This compensation for actual out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the actions or behaviour of a negligent health professional. Examples of special damages include medical expenses, travel costs, care costs, and loss of current and/or future earnings.
How Much Can I Claim for Dental Negligence?
There is no fixed dental negligence payouts UK amount; the dental negligence compensation amount you are awarded will depend on:
- The nature of your injury
- The severity of your injury
- Your prognosis for full recovery
- Costs incurred as a result of the injury
Once your dental negligence solicitor has all the facts of your case, they will review it and give you an estimate to expect in compensation with our dental negligence claim calculator – in accordance with the Judicial College Guidelines.
How Long Does a Dental Negligence Claim Take?
There is no definite answer to this question, as every case is unique. Although the average duration for claims is around 18 months, complex cases could last much longer. What’s more, medical negligence is a very serious matter and any health professional found culpable could lose their career as a result. As a result, dental negligence cases can take anywhere between 6 months to a few years before a settlement is reached.
Can I Sue My Dentist for Dental Negligence at the NHS?
If you have suffered due to negligent dental treatment from an NHS dentist, you can make a claim for compensation as is the case with private practice. The difference with the NHS is that there is a body that handles all claim and compensation issues. There is also a robust complaints process that allows you to make a complaint and seek compensation separately. Depending on the outcome of the complaint investigation, you may be armed with more evidence to pursue a claim for compensation.
Medical Negligence Direct handles all forms of dental negligence, including dental negligence NHS. If you have suffered negligent treatment and are looking to sue an NHS dentist or sue a dentist at private practice, you can count on us to provide the support you need to make an informed decision and pursue a claim.
No Win No Fee Dental Negligence Claims
A No Win No Fee claim for dental negligence minimises the financial risk you incur for making a claim. While we do not guarantee a successful claim, agreeing to take on your case on a No Win No Fee basis means we believe in its validity and will do everything to help you win.
Due to the strict time limit for making medical negligence claims, advise dental negligence patients to get in touch with us as soon as possible to find out if they can make a claim. Our panel of solicitors at Medical Negligence Direct also provide legal advice on dental negligence for parents or guardians of a child on making compensation claims for children by acting as a Litigation Friend before the child turns 18.
Get in Touch with Us Today
Have you suffered an injury or illness due to dental negligence? Are you considering making a claim for compensation? Or do you need an expert opinion on whether you have valid grounds for making a claim? We work with the best dental negligence solicitors who will be more than happy to assist you.
You may also use our free claims assessment form, or call us on 0800 644 4240 to speak directly with one of our friendly solicitors. There is no obligation to instruct our solicitors after the initial consultation, as it is free.