• 42-year-old Stuart Lee, from Thornton-Cleveleys , Lancashire, lost two teeth after his dentist failed to spot and treat decay
• He also suffered years of infection, unnecessary treatments, and botched root canal treatment that left him in agony
• £25,000 awarded in compensation
Stuart Lee, a 42-year-old radiographer from Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancashire, has won £25,000 in compensation from his local dentist with the help of specialist dental negligence solicitors, the Dental Law Partnership.
Mr Lee visited Dr Sharmila Kapoor and Dr Suzanne Martin (née Shields) at Stanage Dental Surgery, 40-42 Victoria Road East, Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancashire, between April 2005 and December 2015.
“In April 2005 I developed toothache so made an appointment to go and see Dr Kapoor,” Mr Lee said. “Dr Kapoor took an X-ray but didn’t offer any actual treatment, which I thought was a bit strange. Anyway, the toothache subsided, so initially, I thought nothing more of it.”
But a few months later Mr Lee was suffering from toothache again he went back to Dr Kapoor. On this occasion, she extracted the tooth.
“The extraction still didn’t stop the pain,” Mr Lee recalled. “I had to go back again a week later because the socket was dry and painful. I was a bit surprised the tooth was now in such a bad way it needed to be extracted, especially after no treatment was offered the first time. But I suppose you naturally trust your dentist.”
But by August 2005, Mr Lee was back in the dentist’s chair again, this time for root canal treatment. But his pain continued and he had to have more fillings in November 2005.
His toothache then temporarily subsided, but at the beginning of 2007 he was back with Dr Kapoor complaining of extreme sensitivity at his teeth. This time the dentist said he needed a dental bridge, which was fitted at a subsequent appointment.
Unfortunately, Mr Lee’s problems still continued into 2008. He visited the dentist nine times that year for various fillings and root canal treatments as well as being prescribed several courses of antibiotics.
“The pain was pretty much constant,” Mr Lee said. “One tooth in particular was so bad that I couldn’t eat on that side of my mouth. I was taking so many antibiotics, but they just weren’t helping with the pain. I remember one particularly bad bout of toothache when I was on a plane for a holiday. It was agony and ruined the trip.”
The same problems continued over the next couple of years. In 2009, a tooth broke and had to be filled. In 2010, Mr Lee also developed an abscess.
“The problems were never ending,” Mr Lee explained. “It was ridiculous. But it only got worse. I thought I just had bad teeth.”
Mr Lee then saw Dr Martin, who undertook root canal treatment and placed fillings, which still didn’t make a difference. Between 2011 and 2015, Mr Lee had to have even more fillings and crowns placed. Then he was told one of his teeth needed to be extracted.
“I’d had endless treatment to try and save my teeth,” Mr Lee said. “Then I was told my tooth needed to be extracted and my fillings started falling out as well. It just didn’t make any sense.”
Mr Lee contacted the Dental Law Partnership. Analysis of his dental records revealed that the dentists had consistently failed to spot and treat decay at four of his teeth that was clearly visible in X-rays. This led to years of avoidable treatments, endless trips to the dentist, and pain. Mr Lee’s bridge was also defective, leaving him needing extensive corrective treatment. The dentists also never needed to extract Mr Lee’s tooth in the first place, and could have saved it with the right alternative treatment.
“The whole ordeal has been a nightmare,” Mr Lee said. “There were times when the pain was constant and nothing I could do would alleviate it. I wasted so much of my time visiting the dentist. It’s so frustrating this was all avoidable. I had a desk job throughout these years and I found it really tough to concentrate because of the pain I was in. It’s been awful.”
Christine Salter of the Dental Law Partnership commented: “The distress and pain our client experienced was completely unnecessary. If the dentists had carried out adequate treatment in the first place, all his problems could have been avoided.”
The Dental Law Partnership took on Mr Lee’s case in 2016. The case was successfully settled in 2019 when the dentists paid £25,000 in an out of court settlement. The dentists denied liability.