LOCAL DENTIST BOTCHES INAPPROPRIATE BRIDGE FOR PENSIONER WITH ARTHRITIS
• 78-year-old, Anne Holland, from Bromley, Kent, had a fixed dental bridge fitted by local dentist despite her arthritis
• Bridge was also poorly fitted leading to facial swelling and the need for corrective treatment
• £12,000 awarded in compensation
Anne Holland, a 78-year-old retired nursery nurse from Bromley, Kent, has won £12,000 in compensation from her local dentist with the help of specialist dental negligence solicitors, the Dental Law Partnership, after her local dentist fitted a fixed bridge that should never have been recommended due to Mrs Holland’s arthritis. Five implants fitted to support the fixed bridge were also so poorly installed that they caused severe swelling to Mrs Holland’s face, while one of the metal implants was even visible underneath the botched bridge. She now faces the ordeal of further corrective treatment.
In 2013, Mrs Holland wanted to explore the possibility of restorative dental work because some of her teeth had started to feel loose. She booked an appointment with her local dentist in Lewisham, who advised that the best option would be for Mrs Holland to have a fixed bridge fitted which would be secured by five implants.
“My dentist examined my teeth and recommended a fixed bridge,” Mrs Holland recalls. “I realised it would cost a lot of money, but he was confident he had the right solution for me. I trusted him.”
During the consultation Mrs Holland disclosed that she suffered with arthritis in her hands and therefore found it difficult to brush her teeth. She explained she had to use an electric toothbrush as she did not have the dexterity to brush her teeth with a manual brush.
“I explained that my arthritis was quite serious,” Mrs Holland said. “I am unable to hold or clutch things very well with my hands. This is why I use an electric toothbrush, and I explained this to my dentist.”
Trusting her dentist, Mrs Holland went ahead with the recommended treatment. She attended a number of appointments relating to the treatment, and in 2014 the implants were fitted. However, it soon became clear that there were problems when Mrs Holland’s face began to swell-up. Yet despite the warning signs, her dentistproceeded to fit the fixed bridge.
After the bridge had been fitted Mrs Holland immediately became concerned. She could feel it was fitted poorly and could even see the metal implant under her teeth.
“The bridge was nothing but trouble,” Mrs Holland said. “It was too big and too loose and I could even see the metal underneath my teeth. I couldn’t chew properly and it felt very uncomfortable. I felt so embarrassed, and hid my teeth when I was talking to people. It was supposed to make me feel more confident but it had the complete opposite effect.”
In desperation, Mrs Holland saw a new dentist who examined the treatment she had received. He was shocked by what he found.
Two implants had been fitted far too closely together which was causing Mrs Holland’s face to swell-up. Another implant had been fitted into her sinus, another was at the wrong angle, and one had been placed at an insufficient depth.
To make matters worse, Mrs Holland’s new dentist informed her that because she had arthritis she did not have the necessary dexterity to keep the fixed prosthesis clean, and that a fixed bridge should never have been fitted in the first place. He said the bridge and the implants needed to be removed immediately and that Mrs Holland should return to using a denture as she had done previously.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Mrs Holland recalls. “I knew it looked bad. But after going through all this work on my teeth and spending so much money, to be told the bridge was inappropriate and should never have been fitted was devastating. Even if it had been fitted correctly it would have still needed to be removed because of my arthritis.”
Mrs Holland contacted The Dental Law Partnership in November 2014 and was presented with evidence that showed that the dental treatment she had received was wholly inappropriate.
Jonathan Owen, of the Dental Law Partnership, commented: “Our client was provided with bridgework that was wholly unsuitable and badly executed. If the dentist had undertaken the proper treatment in the first place the situation our client experienced could have been avoided. We hope the compensation received goes some way towards paying for the corrective treatment required.”
The Dental Law Partnership took on Mrs Holland’s case in November 2014. The case was successfully settled in August 2016 when her dentist paid £12,000 in compensation in an out of court settlement. The dentist did not admit liability.