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How Do I Sue My Dentist?

Have you suffered from dental negligence and found yourself looking for answers to the question, ‘how to sue my dentist?’

If you have, you may be eligible to start a dental negligence claim. Going to the dentist can be a traumatic experience as it is, so suffering from negligent dental care may make the experience even more troublesome. 

If you’ve been let down by a dental professional that you trusted, you may be able to make a claim against them. At the Dental Law Partnership, we’re a specialist firm of Dental Negligence solicitors. Our experienced team is made up of both dentists and legal professionals, priming us perfectly to help you with your dental negligence case.

Our legal team provides high quality legal representation for people who have suffered from dental negligence. This makes us well suited to help you sue your dentist when you’ve suffered from dental malpractice.

If you think you might have a valid case for negligence and you’d like to find out how to make a claim, call us on 0808 301 8732 and we’ll see if we can help.


See if you have a case for dental negligence:

How do I sue my dentist?

If you think you may have a valid dental negligence claim and you’d like to start the process of suing your dentist, it can be hard to know where to start.

The first step is to contact a dedicated dental law organisation like the Dental Law Partnership. We’ve been working with people to get the justice they deserve since our inception in August 2000. Since then, we’ve helped thousands of people with their dental negligence claims, and we hope to help even more people in the future.

We have a set claims procedure that we use to ensure our dental claims are as successful as can be. If you’d like to get the process started, you can request a callback with a member of our team here.



The Dental Law process

At the Dental Law Partnership, we’ve worked within the dental sector for many years. Our legal team is made up of both dentists and legal practitioners, which is something that makes us unique.

Over the years, we’ve honed our dental negligence claims process, ensuring you get the best service possible when you make a claim with the Dental Law Partnership.

Every situation is different and the procedure of your case will depend upon the circumstances of the claim. However, the process usually follows these steps:

  1. When you first get in contact with us, a member of our friendly team will ask you a series of questions about your case and take down your details. We have a dedicated questionnaire that we use to assess whether we can accept your claim.
  2. If your claim is accepted, you’ll need to agree to our terms and conditions and sign a no-win no fee agreement. Your information will then be passed to one of our paralegals so they can view your case. All your dental records will be collected by us to establish a timeline for your case. Your dental records must be kept for at least two years by your dentist.
  3. Our team of in-house dental advisors will work through the chronology of your case and assess your claim. They’ll work out whether your case is strong enough to progress to the next stage.
  4. If our team of dental advisors decide that you have a strong claim, it will be allocated to a dental solicitor, who will draft a letter of claim. The letter of claim is submitted to the defendant and they have four months to respond. Once a response has been received, your dental solicitor will start negotiations with the defendant (or their representative) to settle your claim.
  5. In most situations, your case will be resolved within the negotiations stage. However, you may need to go to court if we aren’t able to settle the claim with the defendant. If this happens, you will be advised on the next steps by your assigned dental negligence solicitor.

We can’t advise on a set time frame for your case, as all circumstances are different and the timing will depend on the nature of the claim. However, we’ll do our best to ensure your case is resolved in a timely manner, and we’ll keep you updated through every step of the process.

Evidence may also need to be gathered to prove that your dentist acted in a negligent way. This is something that we can help you with – if you have any questions about our process, please get in touch and we’ll help you as much as we can.


Our no-win, no-fee guarantee

At the Dental Law Partnership, all our dental claims are conducted on a conditional fee agreement – otherwise known as our ‘no-win, no-fee’ guarantee. This means that you will never need to pay anything upfront for your claim.

If, for any reason, your claim is not successful, you will not need to pay us anything. We pride ourselves on our transparent approach. Before agreeing to your case, you will sign a no-win, no-fee agreement, which will detail the fee agreement in full.

If you have any further questions about how our no-win, no-fee guarantee works, we’ll be happy to advise you further.


What are the main reasons for choosing to sue your dentist?

There are many reasons why somebody might choose to sue their dentist. Suffering a physical injury whilst at the dentist is a leading cause for opening a dental malpractice claim, however there are other reasons you may potentially be able to sue.

Most of our cases fall within one of the following categories, however you may be able to claim for more than one issue at a time:

At the Dental Law Partnership, we can make claims for all treatments within England and Wales – whether your poor treatment occurred through the NHS or at a private dentistry clinic.

If you’ve suffered in a way that isn’t listed here and you’d like to see whether your situation could lead to a successful claim, request a callback from our experienced team.


Failure to obtain consent

When a dentist is performing a dental procedure, they have a duty of care to inform you of anything that might affect the procedureYour dentist also has to ensure that they get informed consent from you before starting a procedure, although this doesn’t always happen. Many patients go ahead with treatment without consenting to it, as people tend to be very trusting of healthcare professionals.

In most cases, if a dentist doesn’t get informed consent from the patient before starting treatment, the procedure will be performed correctly and the patient won’t know that anything untoward has happened. Even if the procedure is carried out correctly, the dentist should still have informed the patient in full before starting the work.

Proper consent has been obtained by your dentist if:

  • Consent has been gained voluntarily and without duress or coercion
  • The patient has been given the necessary information about the proposed treatment, as well as the risks and side effects involved. They should also be informed of any alternative treatments – particularly if they may be less risky.
  • The patient is competent enough to understand the nature, purpose and potential consequences of the proposed treatment

If you think you might have an eligible claim for a procedure that went wrong when your dentist failed to obtain accurate consent, call us now on 0808 301 8732.


Financial loss

You may also be able to make a dental negligence claim for financial loss, which can help with future treatment costs if you need remedial work to fix the damage.

Reasons you may have for claiming for financial loss include:

  • If you’ve had to miss work due to poor treatment and you have been paid less as a result
  • Travel costs, if you’ve had to travel to receive further treatment
  • The cost of remedial work, if your dentist wouldn’t fix the issue for free

Most cases involving financial loss are linked to other issues, such as personal injury and failure to gain informed consent. The likelihood is that you may end up suing your dentist on the basis of multiple things, particularly if the standard of care has dropped in many areas.

If you’ve suffered from financial loss as a result of negligent dental treatment and you’d like to find out if you have an eligible claim, input your details into our contact form and we’ll contact you as soon as possible.


Personal injury

When people think about suing their dentist, personal injury is often a primary factor. If you’ve suffered from a dental injury during treatment, you could be able to make a dental claim for negligence.

There are many different types of dental injury that can occur through negligence – all of which have a negative impact on the patient. As well as suffering from dental pain and trauma, you may also feel uncomfortable and develop psychological trauma. In some cases, remedial treatment may be required and further health conditions can develop. More severe injuries may cause permanent damage or require tooth extraction.

We’ve listed some of the more common dental injuries that may be sustained due to dental negligence. However, this is not a finite list. If you’ve suffered from physical trauma as a result of a negligent dental procedure, our professional team will be able to guide you through the process of making a claim.


Tooth nerve damage

Nerve damage is one of the most common things that can go wrong during dental surgery – it can also be rather serious in some cases. The trigeminal nerve is the one usually affected – the alveolar nerves and the lingual nerves can also be damaged during negligent dental work.

The symptoms of nerve damage include:

  • Numbness in the lips, face, gums and tongue
  • Difficulties eating and swallowing
  • A tingling or burning sensation in the mouth area
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Losing the ability to taste

Nerve damage sometimes occurs after a tooth has been extracted, as the trigeminal nerve is located near the areas affected during an extraction procedure. However, nerve damage can also happen during other procedures. It’s often temporary, but in more serious cases it may be permanent.


Jaw fractures

Another serious complication that can occur due to negligence are jaw fractures. Fractured jaws are rare but they can be very painful. If you’ve recently had dental work carried out and you suspect you may have a jaw fracture, you should go to your closest accident and emergency unit immediately.

Jaw fractures commonly occur when too much force is exerted by your dentist during a tooth extraction, leading to the injury. You may also suffer from fractured teeth if too much force is used, or if your dentist completes the operation incorrectly.

The main symptoms of a jaw fracture include:

  • Extreme pain
  • The inability to open your mouth
  • Issues with speaking and eating
  • Disfigurement

Jaw fractures can be very traumatic and may take a while to heal, even after visiting the hospital. If you have suffered from a fracture after visiting your dentist, there’s a good likelihood that your dentist has failed in their duty of care.

To make a dental malpractice claim for a jaw fracture after treatment, fill out our contact form and we’ll make an assessment of your case.


Infections after dental work

Infections may occur after you’ve been to the dentist – depending on the circumstances involved, you may be able to claim for dental negligence. You should also contact your dental surgery as soon as possible, so that you can treat the infection effectively.

The main symptoms of an oral infection are:

  • Painful or tender gums
  • Swollen gums
  • A strange taste in your mouth that won’t go away
  • Pus or blood leakage
  • The formation of an abscess

Minor pain or discomfort is normal after a dental procedure, so this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an infection or that negligence has occurred. However, if the pain gets worse or doesn’t go away, you should consider going back to your dentist to work out what is causing the issue.

Having an infection doesn’t always mean your dentist acted in a negligent way. Infections can occur naturally and if you’ve neglected to follow the aftercare steps advised by your dentist, you may not be able to make a claim. However, if the infection is a direct result of negligence (for example, if your dentist didn’t sterilise their equipment adequately), or your dentist failed to inform you of the correct aftercare procedure, you may be able to open a dental negligence case.

If not treated quickly, an infection can get worse and may cause further issues to your health, so it’s important to get the issue checked out as soon as possible.


Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a condition

If your dentist misdiagnoses a health condition or fails to diagnose it completely, you may be able to open a dental malpractice case.

If an oral condition (for example, gum disease) is found early enough, it is usually easier to treat. However, if you have a dental health condition that is not diagnosed in time, it may get worse and lead to further health issues, you may be able to make a dental negligence claim.

All dentists have a duty of care and are trained to diagnose oral health and dental conditions when you go for a check-up. If your dentist fails to diagnose a dental issue during a dental check up, then this would be considered to be negligence as the standard of care has dropped.

This is particularly important when it comes to things such as oral cancer or gum disease, as these conditions can become very serious if not diagnosed and treated in time.

Some of the common conditions dentists often fail to diagnose include:

If you’ve developed an oral health condition that your dentist has failed to diagnose, you may be able to claim for negligence – especially if the condition has gotten worse or requires further treatment due to misdiagnosis. If your dentist diagnoses an oral issue but fails to inform you correctly or treat the issue, you may also be eligible to claim.

To find out more about suing your dentist for failing to diagnose a condition, simply fill in our easy contact form and we’ll assess your situation.


Psychological trauma

Going to visit the dentist can be a scary proposition for some people, with approximately 36% of the British population suffering from dental anxiety.

If you’ve had a traumatic experience at your dental surgery due to negligence, you may also find yourself suffering from psychological issues. This can be harmful to your overall state of mental health – particularly if you already had a fear of visiting the dentist.

There is also evidence to suggest that poor mental health can lead to further dental issues. Studies show that there is a link between gum disease and depression, as people are more likely to develop low mood disorders when they have a medical history of gum disease.

A study published by the Journal of Clinical Periodontology found that people who have regular feelings of depression and low mood are 20% more likely to have severe gum disease. It’s theorised that there are two major reasons for this:

  • Depressive episodes are thought to hinder the body’s ability to fight off inflammation, which is one of the early symptoms of gum disease.
  • People suffering from depression and other mental health disorders may be more likely to neglect their oral health

This means that if you suffered from psychological trauma as a result of dental negligence, you could also be more likely to face additional harm from other oral health conditions.

If your mental health has deteriorated as a direct result of dental negligence, you may be able to make a claim. Psychological trauma resulting from negligence usually occurs alongside cases in which physical harm has also happened. You may be able to make a larger claim if additional harm has been caused to your mental health.

If you’d like to find out more about how to sue your dentist when negligence has resulted in psychological trauma, please get in touch with our helpful team.


How to make a complaint to your dentist

You may also want to make a complaint to your dentist, as well as suing them. People often choose to make a complaint as their first port of call, but you don’t need to have already made a complaint to start a dental claim.

Every situation is different and the way you complain may differ depending on whether your treatment was carried out by an NHS dentist or by a private dentist. Depending on your circumstances, you could be eligible for a refund or remedial dental treatment.

All complaints have to be made within a year of the negligent treatment occurring. If you have gone past the year mark, you can still open a dental negligence case up to three years after the incident happened.

If further treatment is required to fix an issue caused by negligent treatment, you may be able to get this carried out for free – so long as the remedial treatment is carried out within one year of the original work. However, to gain further financial redress for future treatment costs you would need to make a dental negligence compensation claim.

The first step is usually to contact the dental surgery directly, regardless of whether the negligence occurred at an NHS practice or at a private dentistry surgery. You can complain to the dentist or the practice manager – the process may differ slightly depending on the manner you choose to complain. The practice should also be able to provide a copy of their complaints procedure.


Other complaint options

If you have tried complaining to your dentist and the results weren’t satisfactory or you’d like to escalate your complaint further, there are several steps you can take.

If you’re an NHS patient, NHS England can help you to make a formal complaint. However, the complaint still has to be made within a year from when the negligence happened. You can also contact the commissioner of the NHS service you used for your dental work – to find out who your commissioner is, you should contact NHS England. NHS England will also have a complaints procedure, which you can request if you wish.

NHS patients can also speak to the Parliamentary and Health Services Ombudsman (PHSO) if they’ve exhausted their other options – please note that this is a service only available for NHS dentistry users.

If your negligent treatment was carried out at a private surgery, your options are slightly different. The Dental Complaints Service (DCS) is an independent complaints service funded by the General Dental Council (GDC) – the regulatory body for dentists in the UK. The DCS also offers free and impartial advice, so you can contact them for help without making a formal complaint.


The GDC may also investigate private treatment complaints, although the DCS should still be your first port of call. The GDC will usually only investigate complaints in situations where there may be a safety risk with your dentist. They may also get involved if the negligence you suffered could cause damage to public confidence in the dentistry industry.

You can also speak to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to inform them about any negligent treatment you’ve suffered. However, the CQC will not be able to open a formal complaint on your behalf. However, they can use your information to prevent similar issues happening to other patients in the future.

If you’d like to go straight to making a claim, or you’ve made a complaint and you’re unsatisfied with the response, you can request a callback from our professional team here.


Find out if you’re eligible to claim



Hold your dentist accountable with the Dental Law Partnership

If you’ve been pondering the question ‘how to sue my dentist?’ and you’d like to proceed with a claim, the Dental Law Partnership is here to help. 

We’re a specialist firm of dentists and legal professionals, which is one of the things that makes us unique. Since the Dental Law Partnership was formed in August 2000, we’ve helped thousands of people to successfully win dental negligence lawsuits against their dentists.

If you’d like to learn more about the claims process or you’d like to see how much compensation you could be facing, visit our other page, where we discuss how much compensation you can expect to receive for a potential claim, or check our client stories page contains all the necessary information.

If you’d like to start legal proceedings against your dentistcontact our expert team and we’ll get the process started.


See if you have a case for dental negligence:

Start Your Claim

or call us free on: 0800 0853 823