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Case Study

WOMAN LOSES THREE TEETH AND HAS CHRISTMAS RUINED AFTER LOCAL DENTISTS FAIL TO TREAT DECAY

• 40-year-old Kathryn Lunn, from Preston, Lancashire, unnecessarily lost three teeth after her dentists failed to spot and treat decay
• She also suffered years of agony and a ruined Christmas
• £18,000 awarded in compensation

Kathryn Lunn, a 40-year-old PA for an accounting firm from Preston, Lancashire, has won £18,000 in compensation from her local dentists with the help of specialist dental negligence solicitors, the Dental Law Partnership.

Miss Lunn first visited Dr Ian Wiper in January 2009 and then saw Dr K in March 2014. Both practised at Diamond Dental Care in Preston, Lancashire.

“I’d never had any problems with my teeth,” Miss Lunn said. “I visited Dr Ian Wiper between 2009 and 2013 and he always led me to believe my teeth were fine. But suddenly in April 2013 he told me one of my teeth needed to be extracted. I was rather shocked, but trusted him as a professional so let him go ahead with the procedure.”

Then in 2014 Miss Lunn started to see Dr K, but it was the summer of 2015 when things took a turn for the worse again. Dr K told Miss Lunn that she needed two fillings, again Miss Lunn trusted their advice as a dentist and let her fit the fillings.

But soon afterwards, Miss Lunn started to suffer from painful toothache.

“I began to experience severe toothache soon after I had the fillings,” Miss Lunn explained. “My teeth became so sensitive. I couldn’t eat anything too hot or too cold. If I did, the pain was unbearable. Then I developed tingling in my teeth and hands so I went to see my GP.

“My GP told me my vitamin D levels were low so put me on medication, but the pain still persisted. It was now early December and I wanted to look forward to a happy Christmas. So I went back to see Dr K hoping they’d be able to help with the toothache,” Miss Lunn continued.

The dentist prescribed antibiotics, but her pain still didn’t subside.

“It was so bad I couldn’t even eat my lunch on Christmas Day,” Miss Lunn recalled. “Every ten seconds my teeth would erupt in a sharp burst of pain, so I had to go and lie down. I couldn’t even speak. Christmas was ruined.”

In desperation, Miss Lunn returned to the dentist in January. However, she was told that there was nothing abnormal with her teeth that could be causing her pain.

She continued to visit Dr K complaining about toothache, but it wasn’t until October that the dentist offered root canal treatment or extraction. Wanting the pain to end she opted for two of her teeth to be extracted so that implants could be fitted. This time, Miss Lunn went to a private dental practice.

I never imagined I’d be missing three teeth before I was 40. It’s made me very self-conscious, which is partly why I wanted implants. I thought they would be the next best thing to having my own teeth, and I didn’t want to be left with any gaps.”

Suspecting her problems may have been down to her dentists’ treatment, Miss Lunn contacted the Dental Law Partnership. Analysis of her dental records revealed that both Dr Ian Wiper and Dr K had failed to spot and treat decay clearly visible on X-rays taken as far back is 2013. If Dr Ian Wiper had treated the decay and restored one of Miss Lunn’s teeth in good time, then the extraction he carried out would not have been necessary. Dr K failed to treat Miss Lunn’s decay, and failed to use reasonable skill and care when they placed the fillings in 2015, which led to post-treatment problems. All the problems she had been experiencing were dental related all along.

“To think all this was avoidable is infuriating,” Miss Lunn said. “The whole process was horrendous. While I was suffering in agony I had to take time off work, and was also going through a break-up and a house sale. It was a really tough time. Then after I finally had my teeth out, I was very self-conscious. It’s been a horrible ordeal, all caused by dentists I trusted.”

Christine Salter 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 her suffering would have been avoided.”

The Dental Law Partnership took on Miss Lunn’s case in 2016. The case was successfully settled in 2018 when the dentists paid a total of £18,000 in an out of court settlement. The dentists did not admit liability.