• 18-year-old Ryan Cooper, a student from Bedford, Bedfordshire, lost four teeth after his dentist failed to spot and treat decay
• He was only 10 years old when he lost four teeth and had to undergo extensive corrective treatment
• £17,000 awarded in compensation
Ryan Cooper, an 18-year-old student from Bedford, Bedfordshire, has won £17,000 in compensation from his local dentist with the help of specialist dental negligence solicitors, the Dental Law Partnership.
Mr Cooper visited Dr Sandeep Singh at UHP Dental Care, Bedford between 2006 and 2011.
“Dr Singh was my childhood dentist,” Mr Cooper said. “As a child I attended for regular check-ups and he always led us to believe everything was fine. However, my first problems started to materialise in mid-2010.”
As a child, Mr Cooper’s mother took him to see Dr Singh in the summer of 2010 because he was experiencing pain at his lower jaw. The dentist offered no initial treatment, but at a subsequent appointment Dr Singh referred him to an orthodontist.
“The pain was becoming worse and worse,” Mr Cooper recalled. “In hindsight, I think it was strange that he didn’t offer any initial treatment when I was in so much pain. I wasn’t even 10 at the time, so it was hard to articulate exactly what I was feeling, but we were assured it was just my permanent teeth erupting and the pain would go away.
Mr Cooper was back with Dr Singh once again in October 2010. He was complaining that his pain had intensified, but the dentist’s advice was that this was due to overcrowding as the teeth erupted. “It was a long time ago but I still remember how excruciatingly painful the toothache was,” Mr Cooper said. Over Christmas 2010 the pain was so intense that he could not stand to eat solid food without experiencing severe discomfort.
In January 2011 Mr Cooper saw the orthodontist he had been referred to. The orthodontist was shocked at what he found and told Mr Cooper that his teeth were decayed and would need to be extracted. There was no immediate need for braces.
“My family and I were shocked” Mr Cooper said. “So we immediately sought a second opinion. The new dentist we saw confirmed that four of my teeth would need to be extracted. It was hard to comprehend why Dr Singh had never identified this during my numerous visits. Later that year, when I was only 10 years old, my teeth were extracted under general anaesthetic.”
Mr Cooper contacted to the Dental Law Partnership. Analysis of his dental records revealed that Dr Singh had consistently failed to spot and treat decay at four of his teeth that was clearly visible in X-rays. This led to him having the four teeth extracted. Mr Cooper had to take significant time off school to attend dental appointments, suffered 15 months of excruciating pain and couldn’t bear to eat solid food for days at a time.
“It did hit me quite hard losing four teeth at such a young age,” Mr Cooper said. “There were four enormous gaps in my jaw that I had to get used to. My mum tells me that I used to get woken up at night due to the pain I was suffering. I remember not being able to eat a family Christmas meal in 2010 because of the pain, which was really upsetting. I ended up having to wear braces for 15 months to help close the gaps left in my mouth, but and even now I still have to wear a retainer regularly at night.”
Georgina France 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 Cooper’s case in 2015. The case was successfully settled in 2018 when the dentists paid £17,000 in an out of court settlement. The dentist did not admit liability.