• 67-year-old woman lost three teeth after her dentists consistently failed to spot and treat gum disease and decay
• She suffered years of bleeding gums and discomfort
• £14,000 awarded in compensation
Mrs R, a 67-year-old retiree from the South West has been awarded £14,000 in compensation from her local dentists with the help of specialist dental negligence solicitors the Dental Law Partnership. Mrs R suffered from bleeding gums and discomfort for years thanks to her dentists’ poor treatment, who also failed to treat decay, and she ended up unnecessarily losing three teeth.
Mrs R visited her dental practice between January 1999 and December 2015.
“Dr I was my regular dentist,” Mrs R said. “So when my gums started bleeding in 2000 I made an appointment with him. He explained that it wasn’t a big deal and most people have bleeding gums every now and again, so I went to see the hygienist the next month and thought nothing more of it.”
Mrs R returned to see Dr I in 2001 and 2002, and the dentist placed fillings.
“I at least thought this was part of him looking after my teeth,” Mrs R explained. “But my bleeding gums persisted. I just started to think there was nothing I could do about them because I was seeing my dentist and trusted he was doing all he could.”
Over the following years, Mrs R had X-rays and hygienist appointments in an effort to treat her bleeding gums. But unfortunately, nothing seemed to work despite these frequent appointments. During this time Mrs R also visited Dr M and Dr P, the first of whom she saw in 2006.
Then in 2010, when suffering from particularly sore gums Mrs R saw a different dentist at the same dental practice.
“This time a crown Dr I had fitted had to be re-cemented,” Mrs R explained. “But my problems still didn’t go away. In 2011, I had to see Dr I yet again because of the pain I was experiencing. This time he extracted one of my teeth. In hindsight it seems ridiculous that the dentists could never do anything that helped, but I trusted them as professionals. I started to think I just had bad gums and it was normal to have crowns re-cemented.”
Mrs R also saw Dr P in summer 2011, who had to re-cement her crown for a second time. But less than two weeks later Dr I said the tooth needed to be extracted.
“I was told the tooth was rotten and had to be extracted,” Mrs R said. “It did seem a bit bizarre, seeing as only two weeks before the dentist said I just needed a crown. But again, I went along with the recommended treatment. Mrs R continued to see Dr I until 2015 when she had another tooth extracted as it was mobile. She continuously complained about her teeth feeling loose but no further treatment was offered.
“Eventually I just totally lost confidence in all of the dentists,” Mrs R said. “My teeth were getting worse and worse but they didn’t seem to be doing anything about it. So I finally saw a new dentist.”
Mrs R was immediately told that her gums and some teeth were in very poor condition, and that it was likely more of her teeth would need to be extracted.
“I was of course devastated,” Mrs R said. “I’m not young, but I’m not old enough to be losing all my upper teeth either! If the dentists had done their job properly I could still have my teeth today.”
Mrs R contacted the Dental Law Partnership. Analysis of her dental records revealed that Dr I, Dr M and Dr P had consistently failed to diagnose and treat gum disease between 2003 and 2015. The dentists had also failed to spot and treat decay at two of Mrs R’s teeth. All this led to the never ending problems Mrs R experienced and to her losing a total of three teeth.
“I am so angry,” Mrs R said. “I spent a lot of money going to the dentist, so for it to end in me losing so many teeth, avoidably, I feel really let down. It really affected my sleep because I was suffering from a constant ache in my mouth. The whole ordeal had a massive effect on my moods too. It was horrible.”
Tim Armitage 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 her problems could have been avoided.”
The Dental Law Partnership took on Mrs R’s case in 2016. The case was successfully settled in 2019 when the dentists paid £14,000 in an out of court settlement. The dentists did not admit liability.