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Case Study

YEARS OF PAIN AND FACIAL SWELLING FOR LOCAL MAN AS HE SUFFERS DENTAL NIGHTMARE

• 45-year-old Steven Earl, from Manchester, suffered years of intense pain after his dentist botched bridge work
• He also suffered several infections and facial swelling as a consequence of the poor treatment
• £8,000 awarded in compensation

Mr Steven Earl, a 45-year-old builder from Manchester, has won £8,000 in compensation from his local dentist with the help of specialist dental negligence solicitors, the Dental Law Partnership.

Mr Earl first visited Dr Conor McConville at City Centre Dental Practice, Manchester in July 2014.

“I initially went to see Dr McConville because I wanted better, whiter teeth,” Mr Earl said. “I wanted aesthetic improvement, and Dr McConville recommended a dental bridge. He was my dentist so I naturally trusted his advice.”

Dr McConville fitted the bridge, but unfortunately it wasn’t long before things started to go wrong. In the spring of 2015 Mr Earl was back with Dr McConville complaining about bleeding gums and excruciating pain coming from the bridge.

“It didn’t feel right almost immediately after Dr McConville fitted the bridge,” Mr Earl recalled. “But I thought I just needed to give it time to settle in. It wasn’t long before my gums started bleeding though. My teeth also felt loose, and pain started to develop that was often unbearable. So I returned to see Dr McConville, but he didn’t offer any additional treatment, and just implied my problems would soon subside.”

But things went from bad to worse for Mr Earl. In the autumn of 2016 he started to experience severe swelling on the left side of his face, which extended all the way up to his eye. The pain was also worse than ever.

“Putting the pain aside the swelling was embarrassing,” Mr Earl explained. “I was having sleepless nights and when I ate my teeth moved. It was clear something was badly wrong so I decided to see a new dentist.”

The new dentist took X-rays and advised that there were indeed problems with Mr Earl’s bridge. He said that Mr Earl should go back to see Dr McConville to have the problems corrected.

“By this point I’d lost trust in Dr McConville,” Mr Earl said. “But I just wanted the whole ordeal to be resolved. I didn’t really have any other choice, so I went back to see him.”

Dr McConville put Mr Earl under sedation in an attempt to remove the bridge, but failed to do so. He then informed Mr Earl he would need to section the bridge, by cutting it into smaller pieces before attempting to remove it again.

Fed-up with the situation Mr Earl contacted the Dental Law Partnership. Analysis of his dental records revealed that Dr McConville had failed to use reasonable care when planning for and fitting Mr Earl’s bridge. As a result Mr Earl is still suffering the effects of a poorly fitted bridge over four years later. The episodes of pain and infection were due to the bridge’s failings and led to him suffering sleepless nights and social embarrassment. To make matters worse, the bridgework Dr McConville undertook had never been a suitable option in the first place because Mr Earl’s neighbouring teeth where in a position that would clearly apply unnecessary stress to the bridge.

“It’s outrageous to think all of this was avoidable,” Mr Earl said. “If I could go back I’d never have started the treatment, it’s been a nightmare. I’m still worried every time I eat that it’s going to flare up and cause me another week of agony or swelling. I’ve still got the faulty bridge because I haven’t been able to afford to spend thousands of pounds on a new one, which is why I contacted the Dental Law Partnership.”

Tyla Westhead 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 Earl’s case in 2017. The case was successfully settled in August 2018 when the dentist paid £8,000 in an out of court settlement. The dentist did not admit liability.