Botched cosmetic dental treatment results in £15k compensation for victim
Derbyshire landlady, Dawn Hall has been awarded an out-of-court settlement after her dentist, Dr Spyridon Lappos, fitted completely unsuitable cosmetic veneers while she was suffering from gum disease, causing them to repeatedly fall out and leaving her in considerable pain.
Dawn (47), from Alvaston near Derby was forced to turn to specialist dental negligence solicitors, Dental Law Partnership, after Dr Spyridon Lappos at Pearl Dental in Derby failed to spot a raft of existing problems with Dawn’s dentition and proceeded to fit six veneers which repeatedly fell out.
Associate solicitor, Jonathan Owen, at the Dental Law Partnership, said: “Dr Spyridon Lappos completely failed to realise that Dawn was a totally unsuitable candidate for veneers until her existing problems, including gum disease, existing fillings and teeth grinding, had been attended to.
“Our dental experts highlighted that Dr Lappos had given no consideration to the issues of gum disease and our client’s habit of grinding her teeth, before he went ahead and embarked upon a course of complex restorative treatment. This has meant that Dawn has suffered years of unnecessary pain and repeated dental visits, only to need wholesale replacement of the veneers due to the poor aesthetic appearance and to restore the functionality of her dentition.”
Dawn originally visited Dr Lappos in 2009. She saw an offer for a ‘Whiter Smile’ at Pearl Dental in Derby and made enquiries. She was told that the tooth whitening treatment would involve fitting veneers and a crown.
After having the initial crown fitted, she went back to the dentist in pain, “I went back to see Dr Lappos and explained that I was in real discomfort around the crown area but he told me not to worry,” explained Dawn.
Soon after Dr Lappos took a mould of her teeth and then fitted her veneers the following week. At this stage he removed the crown and started to file down Dawn’s other teeth. She explained: “He never explained to me that he was going to do any work on any other teeth. I sat through two hours of excruciatingly painful treatment while he filed my teeth down to fit the veneers.
“I went home feeling numb and not able to eat any hard foods. Unbelievably, that very night, I was eating dinner and one of the veneers pinged out of my mouth! I rushed back and he glued it back on, however, a few days later while I was brushing my teeth a different veneer fell out.
“I was really worried at this stage, I didn’t want to eat anything in case more of the veneers fell out and because I grind my teeth at night, a fact that I made Dr Lappos aware of from the start, I was worried that I’d grind off more of the veneers. It was a real nightmare, I couldn’t sleep or eat – I was very upset.”
During this time, Dawn was still experiencing real discomfort and a ‘squidgy’ sensation in her gum, where the crown was. Dr Lappos eventually explained to Dawn that she had underlying gum disease and that it had spread to other teeth.
“The gum disease that had been there all along. My gums were really receding due to the disease, but he refused to give me any antibiotics despite the inflammation and pain.
“After the fourth time a veneer fell out, I went back to Dr Lappos who refused to see me saying that I had ‘missed appointments’, though how this could be true is beyond me as I had had around ten appointments up to that point – I was there at least once a week.”
Dawn was forced to turn to another dentist who explained that her veneers should never have been fitted due to the underlying gum disease. He re-glued her veneers but said she must go back to her original dentist.
“I tried to get hold of Dr Lappos but to no avail. For the next couple of years I suffered with my infection in my gum which just kept recurring despite the antibiotics from the drop-in centre. I thought it was all my fault and just gave up trying – It was a real low point.”
In early 2014, Dawn’s husband, a patient at Pearl Dental, convinced the practice’s owner to see her and see what he could do. The owner confirmed that she should have never been offered the veneers as she had an underlying infection and was a habitual teeth grinder. Dawn continued: “The owner said that I should have been offered a different tooth whitening treatment instead and also said that other necessary steps, including X-rays and dental hygienist visit, were also not carried out by Dr Lappos. He also confirmed that the veneers had all moved and were uneven and would require wholesale replacement.”
In June this year, Dawn was awarded £15,000 after a 16-month legal battle, though Dr Lappos did not admit liability for his actions.
Dawn concluded: “I’m really pleased that Dental Law Partnership has allowed me to get the justice I need. Dr Lappos did not follow proper procedure and he has been made to account for this. I would be really hesitant to take a dentist’s diagnosis at face value now, I would always recommend people get a second opinion. If you suspect something isn’t right, never leave it, seek advice from someone else.
“I’m now having to have all the shoddy work that Dr Lappos did put right which will take many months. The compensation will help but it’s likely to cost me even more as my teeth are so badly damaged, I will need implants.”