What is Dental Negligence?
Dental malpractice, or dental negligence, can be defined as avoidable injury caused by a dentist who fails to take the proper care. Any case where a dentist has performed poorly, negligently or inappropriately which results in avoidable harm being caused to a patient can lead to a dental negligence compensation claim.
A dental negligence claim is a claim in one category of clinical negligence. Like with clinical negligence, a dental claim can be made if you have sustained any form of personal injury, which may include psychological suffering or financial loss, as well as physical harm, as a result of a dentist’s negligent work.
The Dental Law Partnership are the best people to advise you on whether your dental negligence compensation claim falls into the category of dental malpractice.
See if you have a case for dental negligence:
or call us now on:
0808 271 2365
Types of Dental Claim
Dental negligence can take many different forms. Any substandard dental treatment that results in pain, injury or trauma could potentially be considered negligence. If you have experienced any of the below at the hands of a dental professional, you may be eligible to make a dental negligence claim.
If you are wondering “how do I know if I have experienced dental negligence?” then you are not alone. We can advise you if you are unsure.
Are there different types of Dental Negligence?
There are many different types of dental negligence that can inform a dental claim, including but not limited to:
- The extraction of the wrong tooth or teeth
- Misdiagnosis, missed diagnosis, delayed or failed diagnosis
- Dentist carelessness, including failure to remove unplanned foreign objects during treatment
- Failure to provide a treatment plan, preventative or oral hygiene advice
- Inadequate radiology or imaging
Dental malpractice, or dental negligence, may involve harm to the patient, whether through poorly performed procedures, incompetence, or failure to diagnose. This may involve severing a nerve, pulling the wrong tooth or failing to diagnose decay resulting in further problems.
Serious harm to a patient can be a feature of dental malpractice with some patients experiencing life changing injuries. A dentist may cause a serious infection due to unsafe practices, fail to diagnose a case of oral cancer, or improperly use dental tools resulting in permanent injury. These examples could all qualify as dental malpractice.
Your dentist is responsible for informing you of any of the risks involved with your treatment or proposed treatments as well as any side effects and risks to your health. If you are treated and not made fully aware of these risks beforehand and something goes wrong, you could have grounds for a dental compensation claim.
Can I make a claim against my dentist?
If you are injured or suffer as a result of your dentist failing in their duty of care towards you, you might be able to make a dental negligence claim for compensation. If you’re unsure whether you have a claim, speak to a specialist solicitor for advice.
If you are eligible to make a claim and you do so successfully, you can receive compensation for what happened to you and any costs that the negligence has meant you’ve needed to pay out e.g. for restorative dental treatment to fix the issue(s). Find out more about the different types of dental negligence claim.
What you need to claim Dental Negligence
Evidence will need to be collected to establish that your dentist was negligent. In addition there are time limits for bringing a claim namely, within three years from the point in time at which you knew you had potentially received negligent dental treatment. Once these three years have passed, you may no longer be able to claim compensation or sue your dentist.
How to prove Dental Negligence
There are several things that you must be able to prove when making a dental negligence claim:
- Breach – This means that you must show how the dentist breached his or her duty by falling below the required standard of care. This standard is measured against other reasonable dentists of average skill. In some cases, other dentists may be brought in to offer expert testimony about an acceptable level of care.
- Causation – This means demonstrating that the dentist’s breach of duty caused you harm. If your harm was not caused directly by the dentist’s breach of duty, then you cannot sue him or her for dental negligence.
- Damages – This means showing that you suffered some form of harm as a result of your dentist’s breach of care. If you didn’t come to any harm, you cannot sue your dentist – even if they were blatantly careless.
Why choose our dental negligence claims solicitors?
If you are eligible to make a claim for dental negligence, you’ll want to know that your case will be handled by specialists in this area of law, to give you the best chance of a positive outcome and the maximum possible amount of compensation if your claim is successful.
At the Dental Law Partnership, our team is made up of not only legal experts, but also those with a clinical background in dentistry, making us ideally placed to handle all aspects of your claim. We only handle dental negligence claims, so our experience in this area means your claim will be managed by a team that knows exactly what it takes to bring a successful claim and secure the compensation that our clients deserve. Find out more about our dental negligence team here.
If you feel you may have suffered from dental negligence, start your claim today.
or call us now on:
0808 271 2365
Causes of Dental Negligence claims
Below is a selection of types of dentistry and advice on potential negligence claims. Example of dental negligence:
In order to proceed with a dental treatment, your dentist must first gain consent beforehand. On many occasions, procedures are carried out by dentists with very little questions asked.
There is a wide variety of cosmetic dental treatments available, with many becoming increasingly popular. It’s essential that you understand the nature of the treatment and also how long it is likely to last before you agree to it.
A tooth extraction may be required for a number of reasons and if you have certain levels of decay, removal of the tooth could be needed to avoid further damage or complications.
Otherwise known as gingivitis, gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque, resulting in inflammation of the gums. If plaque is not removed, you may experience bleeding gums and bad breath.
On many occasions, Dental Law Partnership deal with claims where tooth decay has not been diagnosed or treated, resulting in the need for a restorative treatment.
A dental implant procedure should be carried out by a specialist dentist and it requires metal posts which are fixed to the jawbone. These are used to support a crown or bridge.
A root canal treatment (RCT) is required if a tooth is severely infected or consists of dead material. A dentist will remove the dead or dying material in order to prevent further issues.
Wisdom teeth affect different people in different ways, yet on some occasions, an impacted wisdom tooth can cause a build-up of bacteria in the area. This will then make oral hygiene and keeping teeth in the area clean a difficult task.
Veneers can greatly improve the appearance a smile and enhance oral cosmetics overall. An alternative to crowns, veneers are bonded to the surface of the existing tooth and can last many years when applied properly.
Crowns and bridges are used in many types of dentistry to improve oral appearance by fixing issues such as missing teeth, or adjusting the shape or alignment of teeth.
Tooth decay is caused by a build-up of plaque and it’s also known as a cavity or caries. It is a common problem amongst children and adults in the UK and it is often something that can go unnoticed by dentists.
During your check-up, it’s important that your dentist is on the lookout for any concerning symptoms that may be a sign of oral cancer.
Contact the Dental Law Partnership
If you feel that you may have been the victim of negligence or have suffered pain, financial loss and embarrassment as a result, you could be eligible to make a claim.
Call our specialist team of solicitors today on Freephone 0800 0853 823 and get things started. Our initial advice is free with no obligation to proceed.
Fill in the form below for a free initial consultation
Can you sue an NHS dentist?
It is understandable to be hesitant to take legal action against the NHS. If you have been the victim of dental negligence, you needn’t feel this way. When making a dental claim you are not suing the NHS, you are suing a dentist individually. They will have professional insurance or indemnity cover for this eventuality. If you wanted to sue your dentist for pulling out the wrong tooth, for tooth nerve damage, bad fillings or more – you should not feel reluctant to claim dental negligence compensation.
You would simply be suing the individual dentist who treated you, regardless of whether your treatment was under the NHS or private dental care.
Do I have a claim for dental negligence?
You may have a claim for dental negligence if your dentist failed in their duty of care towards you and you were injured as a result. Not every failed dental treatment means that your dentist was negligent. Speak to a solicitor to find out if you are eligible to make a claim.
To pursue a dental negligence claim that has the best chance of success, there must be evidence that shows the negligence and also evidence of how you have been hurt or have suffered as a result of what happened. Your solicitor will be able to tell you whether you have a strong claim and assess the potential amount of compensation you could receive if your claim is successful. Find out more about the different types of dental injury claim.
How do I make a dental negligence claim?
In order to make a dental negligence claim, you first need to have the claim assessed by solicitors, to make sure that you are eligible to do so and that you stand a good chance of success, based on the circumstances and the available evidence.
Our expert team of dental negligence claim solicitors can find out about what happened to you, properly assess your claim and give you specialist advice on the next steps to help you seek some justice for the negligence you have suffered.
What are the time limits for making a dental negligence claim?
In most cases, there is a time limit of three years from when the dental negligence occurred, or from when you became aware of the negligence, in which to make a claim for compensation. It’s recommended to always seek legal advice as soon as you find out you’ve been treated negligently.
Sometimes, you might not realise at the time of the treatment that your dentist was negligent. This might only come to light later; for example, if you visit another dentist who spots the earlier mistakes or poor level of care that you might not yet be aware of. There are some exceptions to the time limit of three years for making a dental negligence claim, and your solicitor is best placed to evaluate your circumstances and find out if you are able to make a claim.
What is the dental negligence claims process?
The dental negligence claims process starts with an assessment of your claim by a solicitor. If you decide to proceed with the claim, your solicitor will try to negotiate a settlement with the other party and the majority of claims are settled before court proceedings are needed.
If the dental professional that you are claiming against wants to defend the claim and refuses to accept liability for what happened to you, court proceedings may be started. Even up to the day of the court hearing, a last minute settlement may be offered by the other party to avoid court. If the claim does go to court, the judge will decide on the outcome and, if they find in your favour, they will decide on the compensation amount to be awarded. Find out more about the dental negligence claims process.
Why make a dental negligence claim?
If you’ve experienced dental negligence, it can sometimes be a difficult decision whether or not to make a claim for compensation. If successful, you’ll be awarded money that could help you move forward and also give you a sense of some justice being done.
Other reasons to make a dental negligence claim include helping to draw attention to the negligent act or treatment, so that the same thing doesn’t happen to other patients. Many of those who make a successful dental negligence claim find that the compensation they are awarded can pay for further dental treatment needed to resolve the issues caused by the negligence, helping to ensure they are not out of pocket because of what happened to them.
How much compensation could I receive for dental negligence?
The amount of compensation you could receive for dental negligence will depend on the specifics of your claim, how seriously you were injured and the impact the negligence has had on various aspects of your life. You solicitor will be able to assess the potential value of your claim.
As a general rule, the more severe the consequences of the negligence for you, the higher the amount that you will be awarded for a successful claim. There are many factors that can affect compensation amounts, so it’s important to seek specialist legal advice to get an accurate idea of your potential claim value.
Can I make a dental negligence claim against a private dental practice?
If your private dentist was negligent in your treatment or otherwise failed in their duty of care towards you, you can make a dental negligence claim against them.
Making a dental negligence claim for private dental treatment is a very similar process to bringing a claim against an NHS dentist. Find out more about how you can make a complaint about your dentist if you are unhappy.
Can I make a dental negligence claim for someone else?
There are some instances in which you might be able to make a dental negligence claim on behalf of someone else. For example, if your child (under the age of 18) has experienced dental negligence or a loved one who doesn’t have capacity to bring a claim themselves.
If it is your child that you wish to bring a dental negligence claim on behalf of, you can choose to do so at the time of the incident, but this may mean that they cannot later bring a claim themselves once they are above the age of 18. The three-year time limit does not apply to dental negligence experienced by a child. The time limit begins once they turn 18 years old, so they must have made a dental negligence claim by the time they turn 21 years old to be eligible.
Speak to a specialist solicitor if you’re unsure about whether or not to make a dental negligence claim on someone else’s behalf. We have the experience to be able to offer expert advice, based on your individual circumstances. Call us today on 0808 274 3834 to find out more.