Our client a 39 year old woman from the South West was awarded £15,000 in an out of court settlement after her dentist failed to treat her gum disease condition resulting in 11 lost teeth and future loss of 7 more.
Ms I had been a regular patient at the same practice since she was 6 years old and she attended for regular examinations throughout childhood and adolescence. In June 1990 when Ms I was 19, the defendant, Dr H, took over the care of her teeth. Between 1990 and 1997 she attended for regular routine appointments with no treatment required.
At an appointment in 1998, Dr H’s records indicate that there was inflammation on her gums but Ms I was never made aware of this and continued with her usual tooth care regime. At an appointment in 1999 her oral hygiene was recorded at “poor” but again no other treatment was provided. In 2000 and 2001 Dr H’s records indicate that her oral hygiene had improved and she attended for regular check-ups and scrape and polish treatments in 2002 and 2003.
At an appointment in September 2003 Dr H noted that a number of her teeth were getting loose due to the state of her gums but Ms I does not ever recall being told this. An X ray taken at an appointment in 2004 revealed significant bone loss around 11 of her teeth which was causing them to become very loose.
Ms I attended for 3 monthly scale and polish treatments between June 2005 and May 2009 then in November 2009 one of Ms I’s upper back teeth actually fell out.
In July 2010 Ms I started attending a new dentist as she was so concerned that she had lost a tooth and didn’t want to lose any more. The new dentist immediately referred her to a specialist who confirmed that she had severe periodontal (gum) disease and her teeth were so loose they were beyond saving.
As a consequence of Dr H’s failure to act on the signs of gum disease during his 20 year period of care, Ms I lost 11 teeth and faces losing 7 more in the future. All of the lost teeth will need to be replaced with implants to restore her teeth to the way they should be at 39 years of age.
While Dr H neither admitted nor denied liability for his failings, Ms I is pleased that she has been able to bring claim against him so that she can fill the gaps in her dentition.