• 70-year-old Peter Wright, from Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, suffered years of jaw pain after his dentist botched implant treatment
• He lost the ability to taste on the right-hand side of his mouth and parts of it became numb
• £18,000 awarded in compensation
Mr Peter Wright, a 70-year-old postman from Sunbury-on-Thames, Surrey, has won £18,000 in compensation from his local dentist with the help of specialist dental negligence solicitors the Dental Law Partnership.
Mr Wright first visited Dr Colin Neil in December 2011.
“I’d had teeth out in 2005,” Mr Wright said. “So I’d worn dentures for six years. But I started to think that dental implants might be a better option. So I did some research and asked my dentist about them. He said they could be a good solution for me and referred me to see Dr Neil to discuss options.”
In June 2012 Dr Neil placed Mr Wright’s implants. But almost immediately after the procedure he began to experience problems.
“Pretty much as soon as the implants were fitted, the pain started,” Mr Wright recalled. “By the next morning my face felt swollen and I was in a lot of discomfort. I went back in to see Dr Neil but he reassured me that this was all normal after the procedure I’d had, and fitted a temporary bridge to the implants.
“But five days later I was still suffering intense pain, so I returned to the dentist again. I had a constant throbbing sensation across the right-hand side of my face that was keeping me up at night. I was also experiencing a weird taste in my mouth. But Dr Neil just prescribed antibiotics. At this point I still trusted he knew best, so took his advice.”
But the antibiotics didn’t stop Mr Wright’s pain. He ended up making another four visits to the dentist that month to complain about the same symptoms. His problems were so persistent that Mr Wright ended up being referred for a CT scan, but it didn’t reveal anything that might explain the source of his problems.
“To try and get to the bottom of what was causing me this endlessjaw awche, I went to see my original dentist, who had referred me to Dr Neil,” Mr Wright explained. “He immediately told me I had an infection and said one of my implants would probably need to be removed, but that I should go back and check with Dr Neil.”
Mr Wright ended up seeing Dr Neil another nine times in the second half of 2013 but the ache and discomfort persisted. In September the bridge was eventually removed and a denture was fitted. But it turned out this was poorly fitted as well, and Mr Wright had to return six times for its fitting to be eased.
“To make matters worse, I’d been diagnosed with cancer in September 2012,” Mr Wright said. “So having to contend with that as well as all this constant pain in my mouth made things even harder. It made me wish I’d never had the implants in the first place.”
Mr Wright eventually ended up in hospital and had to be prescribed very strong painkillers.
“Unfortunately I then lost my wife in 2015,” Mr Wright said. “It obviously made things all the more terrible. I just wanted my dental problems to stop. It was never ending. By this point I couldn’t taste on one side of my mouth and it felt numb.”
Mr Wright finally had the implants removed at a specialist clinic in May 2016.
“As soon as the implants were removed the agony I’d been enduring for four years stopped within half an hour,” Mr Wright recalled. “I couldn’t believe it. Dr Neil had told me that removing them would do more damage and that it was a risky procedure. But when they finally came out the pain finally stopped.”
Mr Wright contacted the Dental Law Partnership. Analysis of his dental records revealed that Dr Neil had indeed failed to plan for the placing of the implants, and fitted them inappropriately. This led to the years of agony that Mr Wright experienced.
“When the pain was at its worst I couldn’t eat or sleep,” Mr Wright said. “It completely took over my life. For four years I had bouts of intense jaw pain and endless dental appointments. It could have easily been avoided if Dr Neil had just done his job properly. It’s shocking quite frankly.”
Heather Owen 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.”
The Dental Law Partnership took on Mr Wright’s case in 2016. The case was successfully settled in 2018 when the dentist paid £18,000 in an out of court settlement. The dentist did not admit liability.