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Case Study

MAN LOSES TWO TEETH AND SUFFERS AGONY AFTER DENTIST FAILS TO TREAT DECAY

• 48-year-old Marcus Rayner, from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, lost two teeth after his dentist failed to spot and treat decay
• As a result he needed corrective treatment, including root canal treatments, which the dentist botched
• £20,000 awarded in compensation

Marcus Rayner, a 48-year-old quantity surveyor from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, has won £20,000 in compensation from his local dentist with the help of specialist dental negligence solicitors, the Dental Law Partnership. Mr Rayner’s dentist consistently failed to treat decay then botched root canal treatments, which left him in agony and led to two of his teeth being extracted.

Mr Rayner started visiting Dr William Farmer at Bretton Dental Practice, Peterborough, in 1999 for regular examinations.

“I’d never had any serious problems with my teeth,” Mr Rayner said. “I saw the dentist regularly. You put your trust in dentists as professionals and I was always told my teeth were fine. But in 2006 I started suffering from toothache so made an appointment with Dr Farmer.”

The dentist’s response was to place a filling but Mr Rayner was soon back in Dr Farmer’s chair.

“The filling didn’t last long,” Mr Rayner recalled. “Only a year or so later, Dr Farmer was replacing it. In hindsight I suppose it was strange, but at the time I didn’t think much of it.”

But Mr Rayner’s dental problems continued. In January 2011 his filling broke again, and then broke yet again in February 2011. This time the filling only lasted six months, and Mr Rayner was back with Dr Farmer to have the filling repaired for an unbelievable fourth time, and by 2012 to make matters worse he suffered from excruciating toothache.

“Every time I believed Dr Farmer would repair my filling and that would be the end of it,” Mr Rayner explained. “But the fillings he placed continued to crack or fall out and I had to go back to see him. After the fourth filling the pain just became excruciating. It was so bad I had to take a week off work. Dr Farmer gave me some antibiotics but the pain still persisted.”

Dr Farmer’s next course of action was to carry out root canal treatment. But six months later in November 2012 Mr Rayner’s pain was back.

“At the time I just thought it was bad luck,” Mr Rayner said. “These things happen don’t they? Dr Farmer prescribed antibiotics again, but my toothache continued into the New Year. It ruined Christmas. Dr Farmer then told me I’d developed an infection, and that if the pain persisted for much longer my tooth would have to be extracted.”

“A few days later the area around the tooth swelled up, so I went back to Dr Farmer yet again. He gave me more antibiotics and booked me in to have the tooth extracted a week later,” Mr Rayner continued.

But almost as soon as his tooth had been extracted, Mr Rayner lost a filling at another tooth, which Dr Farmer replaced. The tooth continued to be problematic, in September 2014 Dr Farmer undertook further root canal treatment. In September 2016 he placed a crown at the tooth, and then prescribed antibiotics in 2017. But none of this worked, and despite the numerous procedures, Mr Rayner’s tooth was extracted in September 2017.

Mr Rayner contacted the Dental Law Partnership. Analysis of his dental records revealed that Dr Farmer had failed to spot and treat decay that was clearly visible on X-rays. The decay damaged Mr Rayner’s teeth so much, they eventually had to be extracted. The dentist had also undertaken ineffective root canal treatments, and the crown he fitted was substandard. He now requires extensive corrective treatment.

“To think all this was avoidable is infuriating,” Mr Rayner said. “I followed the dentist’s advice and trusted he knew what he was doing. Putting the pain I went through aside, I’ve lost two of my teeth forever, for no reason. I’ll have to have a lot of his work redone, which means wasting more time at dental appointments. The whole thing has been a nightmare.”

Tim Armitage of the Dental Law Partnership commented: “The distress and pain our client experienced was completely unnecessary. If the dentist had carried out adequate treatment in the first place, all his problems could have been avoided. We hope the compensation he receives goes some way towards paying for any additional treatment required.”

The Dental Law Partnership took on Mr Rayner’s case in 2018. The case was successfully settled in 2018 when the dentist paid £20,000 in an out of court settlement. The dentist did not admit liability.