• 49-year-old Sonia Peek, from Aldershot, Hampshire, has lost a tooth and will lose 9 more in future after her dentists fail to treat gum disease and decay
• Ms Peek has also suffered from toothache, missed work due to dental problems, and avoids smiling because she is embarrassed by her teeth
• £40,000 awarded in compensation
Sonia Peek, a 49-year-old gardener from Aldershot, Hampshire, has been awarded £40,000 in compensation from her local dentists with the help of specialist dental negligence solicitors, the Dental Law Partnership.
Between 2007 and 2014, Ms Peek visited Dr Shehnaaz Kolia and Dr Faisal Dilib at Aldershot Dental Practice in Aldershot, Hampshire.
“I first saw Dr Kolia in 2007,” Ms Peek said. “And I kept seeing her for regular check-ups until 2011. She undertook root canal treatment and fitted the odd filling, but that’s quite common so I didn’t think there was anything to worry about. At one point a lump did develop on my gum, but Dr Kolia told me it was normal, and that I should just keep flossing. She always told me that my teeth were in good condition.”
Then in 2012, Ms Peek started seeing Dr Dilib.
“Dr Dilib said my oral health was good as well,” Ms Peek recalled. “I also saw him for regular check-ups until 2014 and he always told me my dental health was excellent. As my dentist I naturally trusted what he was saying was correct.”
But the truth about Ms Peek’s oral health was suddenly revealed.
“I’d developed an abscess and saw a new dentist,” Ms Peek explained. “The dentist immediately told me I had severe gum disease. I was in complete shock as I’d been having regular check-ups with Dr Kolia and Dr Dilib for years. I thought how can I suddenly have ‘severe’ gum disease? It didn’t make any sense. What made me particularly angry was that Dr Dilib had said my gums were healthy.”
Unsurprisingly, Ms Peek was left feeling highly concerned about her teeth.
“I was terrified they were all going to fall out,” she said. “I was very emotional, and in total shock. I asked the Aldershot dental practice manager for my dental records. Eventually I explained the situation to a friend who agreed that none of it sounded right. My dental health just couldn’t have deteriorated that much.”
Ms Peek contacted the Dental Law Partnership. Analysis of her dental records revealed that the dentists had failed to spot and treat gum disease and decay. Dr Kolia had also botched root canal treatment and failed to manage restorative work at two of Ms Peek’s teeth. One of her teeth has already been extracted and she will lose 9 more in the future.
“Some of my teeth are so bad now that they’re hanging on by a thread,” Miss Peek said. “I can literally wobble them. One tooth has already had to be extracted, I am going to lose more imminently, and in the future I’ll have to get dental implants, but the dental work to do that is going to be very traumatic. I also suffer from anxiety, so I’m really not looking forward to it.
“One of the most upsetting things about all this is that I’ve always looked after my teeth. I am going through all this because the dentists weren’t doing their jobs properly. You put your faith in professionals like dentists, but I’ve been really let down. The injustice of it all makes me so angry. I’ve suffered from toothache, had to take time off work when I’m self-employed, and now have to wear a denture, which is highly embarrassing. My teeth look awful, so I try to avoid smiling. People forget it isn’t some kind of bad building work you can just have redone. Your mouth is important for body language too, your smile and teeth are one of the first things people notice about you, so not having them appear as I liked affected me a lot,” Ms Peek continued.
Heather Owen of The Dental Law Partnership commented: “The distress and pain our client experienced was completely unnecessary. If the dentists had provided adequate treatment in the first place all her suffering could have been avoided.”
The Dental Law Partnership took on Ms Peek’s case in 2016. The case was successfully settled in September 2018 when the dentist paid a total of £40,000 in an out of court settlement. The dentists did not admit liability.