A woman from the West Midlands has been awarded £12,000 in an out of court settlement after poor dental care resulted in years of pain and sinus problems as well as tooth loss.
Miss E sued Dr H after he failed to identify that roots left over from a previous extraction had become severely infected and removed a healthy tooth instead.
X-rays taken before Dr H began treating Miss E clearly showed the left over roots. Miss E said: “I’d been registered at the practice for two years before Dr H became my regular dentist in 2010. I kept on getting painful toothaches on and off and in the same tooth so went to see him that November.”
Dr H noted toothache – in the wrong tooth – and prescribed Miss E with a course of antibiotics, advising her he would have to extract the tooth if there was no improvement.
Miss E said: “I had to go back to see Dr H the same month because the pain came back even worse than before. He said my tooth was the cause and would need to come out, so he removed it during the appointment.
“Things seemed to settle down for about a month after that, until eating became very painful. I’d now cracked the tooth next to the one I’d had taken out so made an appointment to see Dr H. He looked at my tooth and suggested removing part of it to help with the pain. Dr H said I’d need a filling if that didn’t work.”
This tooth was later extracted by Dr H and left Miss E suffering from an oral antral fistula; a hole connecting Miss E mouth to her sinus. If Dr H had studied X-rays correctly before the tooth extraction, he would have seen that the roots of Miss E tooth were very close to her sinus and the roots had fused to her upper jaw, which increased the risks of removing it.
Miss E said: “The pain was unbelievable. Dr H had to use a scalpel to remove the gum around my tooth to get it out and the whole procedure lasted well over an hour. I started to panic when he called the oral surgery department at my hospital to see me urgently.”
Miss E then underwent corrective surgery under general anaesthetic to repair the hole in her sinus at the local hospital due to the damage caused during the extraction. Following the surgery Miss E was advised not to blow her nose.
Leading dental negligence specialists, The Dental Law Partnership (DLP), took on Miss E’s case and was presented with evidence that showed she had suffered as a direct result of the treatment provided by Dr H.
The Dental Law Partnership commented, “Dr H made a number of errors when treating my client . His failure to identify retained roots from a previous extraction led to the incorrect tooth being removed and Miss E went through an unnecessarily painful second tooth extraction because Dr H did not appropriately analyse her X-rays.”
Miss E said: “What Dr H did was not right. I trusted him implicitly and he let me down. I’m still coming to terms with what happened to me but I’m looking forward to closing that chapter of my life now my case has been settled.”
Dr H did not admit liability.