MAN LOSES THREE TEETH AFTER LOCAL DENTISTS FAIL TO TREAT GUM DISEASE
• Mr David Cunningham from Derby lost three teeth after his local dentists failed to treat decay and gum disease • Mr Cunningham suffered years of pain and toothache and is likely to lose at least five more teeth in the future • £17,000 received in compensation
Mr David Cunningham, a 73-year-old, retiree from Derby, has won £17,000 from his local dentists with the help of specialist dental negligence solicitors, the Dental Law Partnership. The dentists’ failure to spot and treat gum disease led to Mr Cunningham losing three teeth, with the prospect of losing five more teeth in the future.
Between 2005 and 2015 Mr Cunningham was a patient of Dr Conor Donegan at Duffield Road Dental Care in Allestree, Derby. Then in 2015, he started seeing Dr Vanya Ruseva at Mackworth Dental Practice in Mackworth, Derby.
“I’d never had any concerns about my teeth,” Mr Cunningham said. “I trusted Dr Donegan was doing a good job. When you see your dentist you just expect them to do the right thing. Dr Donegan fitted a filling in 2006, but I thought it was routine and was nothing to worry about.”
But Mr Cunningham’s dental problems started to develop in 2008, when Dr Donegan said one of his teeth needed to be extracted.
“The dentist told me my tooth was mobile and that it needed to be extracted,” Mr Cunningham said. “I believed he knew what was best. So I took his advice and had the tooth extracted. I thought that would be the end of it.”
But, in 2014, Mr Cunningham was back in the dentist’s chair. He visited Dr Donegan again, this time complaining of toothache. Dr Donegan prescribed antibiotics. But Mr Cunningham’s toothache continued and he was back with Dr Donegan just two weeks later. The dentist prescribed antibiotics for a second time, but again, they didn’t stop the pain. And Mr Cunningham’s tooth was extracted a month later.
“I was in so much pain,” Mr Cunningham recalls. “My face was swelling and I couldn’t eat on one side of my jaw because of it. Dr Donegan eventually recommended having the tooth extracted. I thought it would stop the pain and the swelling, so naturally, I agreed.”
Mr Cunningham’s final visit to Dr Donegan was in early 2015, because he was suffering from pain at yet another tooth. The dentist’s solution was to apply topical fluoride but it didn’t resolve the problem.
Mr Cunningham then started seeing Dr Ruseva at Mackworth Dental Practice in June 2015. Dr Ruseva replaced a filling that Dr Donegan had fitted. But Mr Cunningham’s pain continued and yet another tooth was extracted a month later.
Mr Cunningham only discovered the true extent of his dental problems in November 2016 when he finally saw a new dentist. He was told he was suffering from severe bone loss around his teeth due to gum disease that had been left untreated for years.
Mr Cunningham contacted the Dental Law Partnership. Analysis of his dental records revealed that X-rays taken as far back as 2005 clearly showed he was suffering from bone loss. But the dentists did nothing to treat it then or at subsequent appointments. The dentists’ failure to provide proper treatment caused him years of pain, inconvenience and the eventual loss of three teeth. Mr Cunningham is also likely to lose at least another five teeth in the future.
“I ended up spending thousands on implants and bridges,” Mr Cunningham explained. “I was given three options – do nothing and have my teeth fall out, have false teeth, or have implants fitted. The only permanent solution was implants, so I had no choice really. On top of this, five of my other teeth are so badly damaged it’s unlikely they can be saved. So I’ll probably lose them too.
“The treatment I received really is unbelievable. I had the shock of my life when I was told how severe my problems were. Who knows how many more teeth I’d have lost if I hadn’t changed practice. The dentists just didn’t seem to care.”
Jonathan Owen of the Dental Law Partnership commented: “What our client went through was completely unnecessary. If the dentists had provided adequate treatment in the first place all the suffering he experienced would have been avoided. We hope the compensation he receives goes some way towards paying for the additional treatment required.”
The Dental Law Partnership took on Mr Cunningham’s case in March 2017. The case was successfully settled in April 2018 when the dentist paid £17,000 in an out of court settlement. The dentists did not admit liability.