Mrs T, a 62 year old lady from the North East, has been awarded £28,000 in damages after her local dentist ignored the fact that she was suffering from extensive gum disease.
Mrs T, has won a 15 month legal battle and secured £28,000 in damages after successfully suing her dentist with the help of specialist dental negligence solicitors the Dental Law Partnership.
Her dentist Dr K, failed to treat Mrs T’s gum disease, leaving her condition to deteriorate for over 20 years. As a result of Dr K’s neglect, she faces the risk of losing numerous teeth to the disease.
Mrs T said, “I really had no idea, over 20 years of visiting Dr K and having regular examinations he never mentioned gum disease. You trust your dentist as an expert to tell you what’s wrong and what needs to be fixed, I was shocked when I discovered the extent of the condition I was suffering.”
Dr K regularly took x-rays of Mrs T’s teeth, which all indicated that she was suffering from gum disease and it was progressing, but he never provided any treatment or any advice to Mrs T that she was suffering from this condition.
She said, “I even went to him when my gums started to bleed, which is something I know now can be a sign of gum disease, but he assured me my oral health was excellent and that my bleeding gums were hormonal. When a dentist tells you your oral health is excellent why shouldn’t you believe them?”
It wasn’t until her hygienist, becoming increasingly concerned about the state of her mouth, referred her for a second opinion that she became aware of the extent of her problems.
Mrs T was diagnosed with chronic adult gum disease, which was affecting large parts of her mouth. As a result of this being left undiagnosed for two decades Mrs T has already had two teeth extracted over this period and will need extensive treatment at 8 other teeth in order to try to save them,.
She says, “I was absolutely gobsmacked when they said there was a risk I could lose 8 more teeth. The treatment I have to have is extremely uncomfortable and it would have been much more simple and painless if Dr K had simply treated my gum disease when it was first indicated back in 1992. I am upset that he has been able to carry on treating me for so long without rectifying something that if caught early is simple to treat.”
Heather Owen Director at the Dental Law Partnership commented, “Gum disease is something that should be screened for routinely in dental examinations, and the fact that Dr K failed to do this and failed to alert our client to the developing condition is something that falls far below the level of care expected of a dental professional. Mrs T has already lost two teeth as a result of Dr K’s failings with the very likely possibility she will lose more teeth in the future. This is not the level of treatment you should expect to receive from a practising dentist.”
Mrs T’s case was settled out of court for £28,000, but Dr K made no admission of liability.
Recollecting on her experience Mrs T said, “I would never have believed that for 20 years my dentist wasn’t doing his job properly. He has left me in pain with a future filled with treatment to correct his mistakes. I am not looking forward to the treatment but I am determined to fix the problems that he has caused me, and my damages will help with my treatment.”