STUDENT LEFT WITH BRACES FOR SIX YEARS THANKS TO DENTIST’S BOTCHED ORTHODONTIC WORK
• 18-year-old Daniella Riches, from Lightwater, Surrey, had to wear braces for six years after her dentist botched orthodontic work • She suffered years of discomfort and jaw pain as well as teasing from children at school • £10,500 awarded in compensation
Daniella Riches, an 18-year-old student from Lightwater, Surrey, has won £10,500 in compensation from her local dentist with the help of specialist dental negligence solicitors, the Dental Law Partnership. Like many teenagers,
Miss Riches had braces fitted that were supposed to come off after 12-18 months, but she ended up having them for six years in what became a dental ordeal. She had braces all throughout her teenage years and had trouble eating and drinking, and suffered from jaw pain because the dentist had failed to fit her braces properly.
Miss Riches’ braces were first fitted in November 2012 by Dr Nicholas Waldron at Braceland West Surrey Orthodontic Centre in Woking, Surrey.
“My dentist told me I needed a brace, like a lot of children when their adult teeth come through,” Miss Riches explained. “So I saw Dr Waldron and had them fitted. He told me I wouldn’t need them for too long so I was happy to go ahead. My Mum and I trusted he knew what was best.”
After 15 months, Miss Riches was hoping it would be time for her brace to come off, but Dr Waldron just adjusted the brace and said it needed to stay in place.
“I suppose I just assumed I’d need it for a bit longer,” Miss Riches said. “I wasn’t overly concerned at this point. I thought I’d have it taken off at my next appointment instead.”
By January 2014 Miss Riches still had her brace. Dr Waldron said it still wasn’t ready to be taken off. At this appointment, the dentist fitted a brace to her bottom row of teeth as well.
“I was told I’d need the brace for a maximum of 24 months,” Miss Riches said. “Then over two years later Dr Waldron, not only were the first set still on, but he was fitting another set to my bottom teeth. He kept saying I was still growing and my jaw was moving so he had to make adjustments, like that was the reason why I still had to wear them after all this time.”
But a year later Miss Riches still had her braces.
“It had been over two and a half years now,” Mrs Riches explained. “Other children at school kept asking me when my braces were coming off because it seemed like I’d had them forever. Some even began to tease me. I had also developed jaw pain and couldn’t eat or drink properly, which was bad enough, but the teasing was the final straw. I told my Mum I wanted to see another dentist because I had lost all faith in Dr Waldron. To make matters worse the braces didn’t appear to have made a difference and my teeth didn’t align correctly.”
Miss Riches saw a new dentist in February 2016. Her new dentist immediately informed her Dr Waldron’s treatment had been ineffective and that she would require another 18 months of orthodontic work to straighten her teeth. He had to remove Dr Waldron’s braces to fit a new set.
Miss Riches contacted the Dental Law Partnership. Analysis of her dental records revealed that Dr Waldron had indeed failed to use reasonable care and skill when planning for and fitting Miss Riches’ braces, which had led to them being ineffective and the toothache she experienced. The orthodontic work Miss Riches required was clearly going to take more than 18 months, but the dentist failed to inform her about this. Had he done so Miss Riches may not have decided to proceed with the treatment.
“It’s infuriating to think that four years of braces and two years of corrective treatment was avoidable,” Miss Riches said. “I don’t think anybody particularly likes having braces but I’ve had them throughout my teenage years just because Dr Waldron wasn’t doing his job properly. I even had friends who didn’t know what I looked like without braces! It’s so embarrassing. It just seems unfair to me that someone else’s mistake has caused me this much grief. I had braces for six years. It felt never ending.”
Tim Armitage of The Dental Law Partnership commented: “The distress and pain our client experienced was completely unnecessary. If the dentist had recommended and undertaken the adequate treatment in the first place, all her suffering could have been avoided. We hope the compensation she receives goes some way towards paying for the additional treatment required.”
The Dental Law Partnership took on Miss Riches’ case in 2016. The case was successfully settled in 2018 when the dentist paid a total of £10,500 in an out of court settlement. The dentist did not admit liability.