Our client, a 63 year old woman from the South West, has recently been awarded £24,000 after her dentist left her gum disease condition untreated for 21 years.
Mrs O had been a patient at the same dental practice since she was 7 years old. In 1986 the defendant Dr H, took over her dental care.
Mrs O attended for regular examinations and scale and polishes between 1986 and 2007.
At an appointment in 1988 Dr H had noted in Mrs O’s records that she had a periodontal abscess (an infection caused due to the presence of gum disease), and simply provided antibiotics. Mrs O was not made aware of the nature of the abscess and no further treatment was provided.
Between 1988 and 1996 Mrs O assumed her teeth were in good health, unaware that she was actually suffering from gum disease.
The health of Mrs O’s teeth got worse when in 1998 she saw Dr H complaining that 2 of her upper right teeth had become very sensitive and felt loose. Dr H extracted one of them and noted that she intended to perform root canal treatment on the other.
In 1999 Mrs O had root canal treatment on a lower left tooth and a crown was fitted to an upper left tooth in 2001. Between 2001 and 2007 she attended for examinations and scale and polishes. In 2001 and 2004 she was provided with advice about her oral hygiene however she was not made aware that she was in fact suffering from gross periodontal disease.
At an appointment in 2007 Dr H took an X ray which showed that Mrs O had lost 60% of the bone around some of her upper teeth and around 15% of the bone around some of her lower teeth. While it is clear that Mrs O was suffering from gum disease, she was not made aware of the problem. It wasn’t until she attended Dr H in October 2007 that Dr H mentioned the subject.
In December 2007 Mrs O saw another dentist at the same practice who extracted one of her teeth and confirmed that she was suffering from an advanced form of gum disease. Mrs O was referred to a specialist who devised a treatment plan to restore the lost teeth.
As a result of Dr H’s failings, Mrs O lost a total of 7 teeth and faces the future loss of 5 more in the future. Dr H neither admitted nor denied liability but the Dental Law Partnership was able to bring a case of dental negligence against her and Mrs O intends to use the damages to have her teeth brought back to health.