Dental Negligence Claims
When you visit a dentist for cosmetic reasons (such as wanting to improve your smile) you are placing a lot of trust in their ability and expertise. If that trust is betrayed, or if your dental professional makes a mistake that leads to damage or suffering, you can really end up paying the price. Long-term pain and discomfort can also arise from dental negligence which can make it difficult to fulfil daily duties. In certain situations, the injuries sustained through the negligence of a dental professional mean you may need to drastically alter the way you live your life.
The law says that dental professionals must adhere to a ‘duty of care’ to keep you safe. This legal obligation means that all patients must be given a reasonable level of care and that any chance of harm is avoided. If the ‘duty of care’ has not been adhered to and you believe negligence has resulted in an injury to you, we can provide the help you need to make the situation right.
Getting the compensation that you deserve can make all the difference in your life. We hope that by pursuing a claim, you will receive deserving financial compensation that can help you through the recovery process and help to support you in the future.
If you believe you are owed compensation and are ready to make a claim, or if you need more advice, we are here to help. For impartial advice without any cost to you, you can contact Smith Jones for expert assistance on all dental negligence claims.
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Cosmetic Dental Negligence – More Information
WHAT DOES COSMETIC DENTISTRY ENTAIL?
According to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), there is no obvious distinction given between treatment that is cosmetic and treatment that is necessary. Many procedures will contain both elements of necessary treatment and cosmetic treatment.
There are many reasons why you may decide to have a cosmetic procedure, with teeth straightening and teeth whitening being the common ones. Certain procedures like crown and veneer fitting will be classed as cosmetic treatment if they are undertaken for appearance reasons as opposed to the medical benefit.
Individual health issues will be judged by a clinical professional to decide whether the treatment is to be considered cosmetic or necessary. If you are interested in having any cosmetic dental treatment, you can ask your dentist how much private treatment will cost. Charges for any private treatment will be added to the charges for the NHS treatment.
DENTAL NEGLIGENCE IN COSMETIC PROCEDURES
To make a claim for cosmetic dental negligence, the injuries you have sustained must be proven to be a result of negligent work. There are two categories that this negligence will commonly come under:
Cases of Misdiagnosis
A misdiagnosis claim can often be made in situations where the dental professional has not managed to identify the cause of the problem, or has diagnosed it wrong. Due to this, the wrong treatment may be undertaken and the problem could become more severe.
When looking at cosmetic dental work, it might be that you have had unsuitable treatment or treatment that has actually made your condition worse. It is also possible that dental problems could go unnoticed by the dental professional during the cosmetic procedure.
Added to this, there is the issue of extra expenses arising to correct the negligent work. If you decide to make a claim then these added expenses could also be compensated for.
Cases of Inadequate Dental Technique
If the dental professional uses techniques that are inadequate or not correct for a procedure, and complications or damages are a result of it, then this could be grounds for a dental negligence claim.
Your claim for dental negligence can include instances where the technique that your dentist used either increased your problems, lead to an infection developing or caused severe pain. In the most extreme cases, you may have to drastically alter your way of life, for which Smith Jones will look to ensure the best possible medical treatment, as well as fight for the maximum compensation to help make your adjusting easier. If you would like to know more, please do not hesitate to speak to a member of our specialist personal injury solicitors team.
BRIDGES & CROWNS
Smith Jones may be able to assist you with claims against dental negligence in cases where:
- There was no advice given by the dentist about other treatments available
- No attempt was made to assess the tooth’s health before the crown was fitted
- Pain due to the dentist not properly assessing the crown’s shape
- Gum disease or decay has arisen due to the size and style of the crown not being correctly assessed or placed
Cosmetic bonding is an alternative option for individuals that are suffering from discoloured or damaged teeth, helping to improve the look of your smile and your overall oral health. By undertaking cosmetic bonding, you can forgo the need for drilling to improve the appearance of your smile. The procedure involves using a form of composite filling that is coloured to match the shade of your teeth. The filling can also improve the shape of your teeth, as well as repairing certain damage like chipping.
Many cosmetic bonding procedures are completed successfully, but there is the chance that problems can occur due to dental negligence. It is possible to base a claim on any of the following instances of dental negligence:
- The filling broke away or chipped due to the bond being executed in a poor manner
- The colour or translucency does not match your other teeth
- The materials that were used caused you to suffer from an allergic reaction
- You have been in continuous pain since the procedure was completed
Dentures are designed to replace missing teeth. They are fully removable and come in different styles. Partial dentures can be used to replace one or more teeth, whilst full dentures are able to completely replace all of them. Normal dentures are made from metal plastic or acrylic, with the metal dentures used to support teeth made from a different, very natural looking material. Dentures can be supported by teeth or by underlying gum depending on the number of teeth that are being replaced. Dental implants can also support a different style of denture whilst still being removable.
If you felt that your dentist was negligent during your denture treatment you may be able to make a compensation claim. This could be the case if you have paid for dentures that were made incorrectly. Dentures that do not fit properly can cause further issues such as gum disease and inflammation.
A compensation claim may be possible if your denture treatment or cosmetic dentistry procedure caused you to suffer undue harm. At Smith Jones Solicitors, we believe that if you have suffered such harm or injury you should be entitled to compensation. If you need advice or expert assistance please contact us today.
If you have gaps between your teeth, or want your teeth to be straighter, your dentist may advise that you use clear aligners or ‘invisible braces’. These are fitted to either the upper or lower part of your jaw, and in some cases your dentist may advise you to have them fitted to both. The process of fitting invisible braces can be split into four stages: the initial assessment, the fabrication, the fitting and the retention.
There is the possibility that you may encounter unexpected problems with your invisible braces. Dental negligence could be a factor if the invisible braces do not perform as expected or if you were given advice that was incorrect. Malpractice may also be a factor if the braces have caused your gums or teeth harm due to being fitted poorly. Negligence could further be claimed for if your jaw and mouth were not properly assessed before fitting.
People undertake veneer treatment to improve the appearance of their smile. The procedure to fit veneers involves bonding the veneer, often made from composite resin or a layer of thin porcelain, to the surface of a persons’ teeth. Commonly used instead of crowns, veneers are not well-suited to adjusting the position of your teeth but they can aid in the improvement of the colour and shape. Veneers can also be fitted to close any gaps that are present between a person’s teeth, an alternative option to braces in some situations. The increasing popularity of veneers is partially attributed to dentist up-selling and endorsements from popular magazines. The procedure is only available through an NHS dentist for medical reasons, not for cosmetic treatment.
Fitting veneers is a multi-step process that starts with a diagnosis. After diagnosis, the dentist will set up treatment plans, prepare the veneer and perform the bonding.
Whilst many dentists will ensure that the procedure is a success and that the veneers are properly fitted, dental negligence is still a possible occurrence. As cosmetic dental work is very complex there are a multitude of reasons why a procedure may not be successful. Some of the most common issues that can arise include:
- Discomfort – this can be the result of veneers that are wrongly sized or incorrectly fitted to such a degree that they are falling off
- Infection – this can arise in cases where too much drilling has caused damage to supporting teeth. This is especially in cases where patients regularly grind their teeth, veneers can become chipped or fractured
In cases where cavities have caused the decay of a tooth then white fillings are often used. These can be chosen instead of metal amalgam or silver-coloured fillings, and are often referred to as either composite fillings or tooth-coloured fillings. White fillings will be coloured to match the existing colour of your teeth and can commonly be constructed from materials like acrylic resin or powdered glass.
Compared to some of the more traditional materials, the procedure to place a white filling can be considerably more complicated. There are some risks associated with white fillings. For example, the chemicals that are needed to treat the walls of the cavity involve the application of an acid gel that must be controlled. The fillings are also prone to contracting when the dentist uses light to cure them. After the filling has been placed the chemical treatment and contractions can cause you to feel an increased sensitivity to temperatures for around 2 days. If this becomes a persistent problem it is important to contact your dentist again.
Undertaking any filling treatment also brings the risk of the treated tooth dying. Whilst white fillings are no more prone to this than any other filling type, choosing white fillings for large cavities is unadvised. This is due to the complexities in maintaining dryness in the tooth for extended lengths of time, along with problems than can occur when trying to cure fillings in deep cavities
White fillings are viewed as a routine treatment, but that does not mean that problems cannot occur. In the instance of problems or complications arising you may be able to make a negligence claim if:
- The dentist did not clean the cavity to an acceptable level or there was saliva left during the procedure
- If your filling fractures or needs to be replaced early due to gaps being left that has exposed the tooth to decay
SMITH JONES' SUCCESS IN DENTAL NEGLIGENCE CASES
Our dental team includes a highly qualified dentist working alongside our specialist personal injury solicitors.
- D.S. – Batchelor Dental Surgery
- MFGDP – Member of Faculty of General Dental Practitioners
- Dip Imp Dent (RCS) – Diploma Implantology (Royal College of Surgeons of England)
- Dip Rest. Dent (RCS) – Diploma in Restorative Dentistry (Royal College of Surgeons of England)
- Past Clinical Tutor at AstraZeneca
Our dental expert has practised at the highest level for over 32 years. From his own surgery, he has helped patients in every field of dentistry and understands the importance of:
- Proper pre-op assessment
- Proper planning and case work up