In recent years there has been an increase in dental negligence. Visiting the dentist is often a nerve racking experience for people. Thankfully most dental surgery is performed to a high standard with patients feeling they have been well looked after and happy with the results.

However, there are instances where dental treatment and surgery goes wrong; if this is the case we can help you claim compensation for your financial loss, pain and suffering.

The rise in cosmetic dentistry has seen an increase in dental negligence claims with people losing teeth, suffering damage to their nerves and being left in pain. In the majority of cases patients make a full recovery, sadly in some instances the injury can be life changing.

We see some common injuries due to dental negligence, including where the wrong tooth is removed or errors in the administration of anaesthetic. In cases where the injuries to the patient are more serious, we have seen long lasting nerve damage, issues with cosmetic dentistry and oral cancer claims. 

No win no fee claims

The majority of the dental negligence matters we take are on a no win no fee basis which means there is no financial risk to you.

There are also other funding options available to you, including some insurance policies you may already have with legal cover. We will discuss all your funding options with you in our initial consultation.

Duty of care

Dentistry standards

Every dentist has a duty of care to you, whether they offer private practice or are an NHS dentist. They are all required to carry out work to a high standard. If the surgery or dental treatment carried out falls below this standard and you are left suffering pain then you could be entitled to make a claim for dental negligence compensation.

If you choose to make a compensation claim we can work to ensure your compensation award covers your continuing care needs, the pain and suffering you have experienced and any financial losses you have had such as loss or earnings or travel expenses.

Our team are dental negligence experts; they will guide you through the entire claims process so you are confident you know what is happening at every stage.

Dental negligence definition

What is dental negligence?

Dental negligence is simply negligence compensation for any injury or misdiagnosis in your dental treatment. In minor cases this can be for negligent dental care such as removal of the wrong teeth or the incorrect treatment or failing to treat tooth decay. In serious cases it can be where the jaw has been damaged, nerve damage or oral cancer claims.

We have dealt with many dental negligence claims for our clients. In these cases we always ensure we secure a high level of compensation to reflect the injuries suffered. The compensation will cover the cost to rectify any damage caused as a result of the injury, your pain and suffering and any financial losses incurred.

In all cases, to prove dental negligence you have to have suffered an injury or damage as a direct result of the dentist. In cases of poor care without injury there is no way to claim compensation.   

Common dental claims

Dental compensation can be awarded for many different types of dental negligence including:

  • Oral cancer claims
  • Damage to your teeth and jaw due to poor surgery, misdiagnosis or the wrong treatment
  • Cosmetic dentistry for porcelain veneers or teeth whitening
  • Incorrect extraction of teeth
  • Gum disease or periodontal difficulties
  • Failing to treat tooth decay
  • Inadequate crowns and bridges
  • Root canal therapy
  • Orthodontics
  • Wisdom teeth removal
  • Veneers

What does my compensation for dental negligence cover?

Dental compensation is designed to allow you to return to your usual lifestyle, not to gain financially through the compensation awarded. The compensation should allow you to return to your life before the injury occurred, so it will cover the cost of any corrective surgery, the loss of any earnings and financial losses which can include travel costs. 

Examples of dental negligence

Oral cancer

If you have visited the dentist with symptoms of oral cancer and they failed to recognise those symptoms or refer you for further treatment you may have a claim for negligence. They have a duty to correctly assess you using the right procedures, if they fail to do so it can mean a late diagnosis and additional treatment and more severe surgery.

If this is the case for you and your dentist failed to diagnose your oral cancer you may have a claim for dental negligence against them. 

Periodontal (gum) disease

Most commonly known as gum disease, periodontal disease can be an extremely painful condition if it is not identified early and treated effectively.

Some early signs of diseased gums are bleeding when brushing and inflamed gums and a sore mouth.

If periodontal disease is untreated it can lead to more serious pain and affect the jaw and the tissue around the teeth which in turn can lead to tooth loss.

Your dentist should advise you early on about the onset of gum disease and how to treat it with good oral hygiene, by discussing how to clean your teeth which will reduce the risk of further damage and tooth loss. They should also advise a check up with a hygienist and x-rays to check the extent of the damage.

If they fail to adequately advise and treat periodontal disease and you are left in pain you may be able to claim for dental negligence. 

Cosmetic dentistry

Like a lot of cosmetic procedures, cosmetic dentistry is becoming more and more popular in the UK for those looking for the perfect pearly white smile.

Cosmetic dentistry is often used to correct the appearance of people’s teeth, with implants, braces and crowns. However if these procedures are not carried out correctly or the devices not used properly patients can be left in pain and in some instances the teeth damaged which may need corrective treatment.  

Our dental negligence team have worked on cosmetic dentistry cases where patients have had to undergo further extensive treatment to eliminate their pain and correct the errors of negligent dentistry. 

Nerve injury

Patients who have suffered a nerve injury due to dental negligence can find themselves in significant pain; there may be changes to their facial appearance which can result in issues of a psychological nature.

These injuries can affect everyday life as you may experience difficulty chewing or smiling or you may find you are in pain when trying to move your face or talking.

Our solicitors will be able to secure you compensation to account for your pain and suffering and help pay for the costs of further treatment.

The dental claims process

Stages of your claim

You can make a dental negligence claim for many reasons, including if a condition was misdiagnosed, if you did not receive the correct treatment for a condition or careless dental treatment by your dentist such as removing the wrong tooth or cosmetic dentistry with treatments such as porcelain veneers and tooth bonding.

If you feel you have suffered due to the treatment and work carried out by a dentist you may be entitled to compensation.

The first stage of your claim is to speak to one of our specialist team providing as much information as possible on your injury or situation. We will assess the merits of your claim and advise you on the process, the first stage is access to your medical records.

Once we have your medical records and details of the incident we work with expert witnesses who are specialists within their field and have the knowledge, skills and experience to offer their opinion on the case, this is used to build a case against the dentist and to prove negligence. 

Once we have built our case, a letter of claim is issued. At this point the dentist may admit liability and either over a full or partial settlement. If they deny the negligence then a court claim will be issued.

In most instances claims are settled early on in the process. However, it is sometimes necessary to start court proceedings if the dentist in question strongly denies the claims, if this is the case, we will guide you through the whole process.

Time limits

As with the majority of medical negligence and personal injury claims there are strict time limits on when you are able to claim. For dentist negligence you have three years from the “date of knowledge” which is the date you became aware of the issue. As with all compensation claims it is important to speak to an experienced solicitor as quickly as possible.

Our team

Our specialist dental negligence team has a great deal of experience working on dental claims. 

Jeanette Whyman who is a specialist clinical negligence solicitor has successfully secured compensation for dental negligence for many clients. She is an accredited member of the Law Society’s Clinical Negligence Panel and has over 25 years’ experience specialising in this area of law with a proven track record in helping her clients to achieve the maximum compensatory award.

Dental negligence cases

Our team worked on a case of dental negligence for a client who had advanced generalised chronic periodontitis, a gum disease requiring specialist care but had received inappropriate treatment from the defendant dentist for ten years. We successfully secured compensation for our client. 

Jeanette and her team have successfully acted against a dentist for negligent cosmetic dentistry of most of the client’s teeth requiring removal and replacement of all dental implants.