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A Dummies Guide to Dental Negligence Claims

The Dental Law Partnership is a specialist firm of dental negligence solicitors providing high-quality legal representation exclusively for people who have received negligent treatment from their dentist.

As a nationwide dental negligence claim specialist, with over 20 years experience, we are used to representing clients  in dental negligence claims across England and Wales. Over the years, we’ve encountered many clients  who have required clarification on what the term dental negligence actually means. Dental negligence can be a complex and daunting topic for many, and legal jargon might make it challenging for you to navigate if you lack a legal background.

In this guide we’ll discuss dental negligence in a manner which is easier to digest, as well as providing a list of terms which will help make the legal jargon easier to process.


The Duty of Care and How to Prepare

So you’re a patient in the dentist’s chair and something doesn’t feel right. You’re in too much pain, or you aren’t being listened to. You’re distressed or anxious or something goes wrong but you’re unsure of your rights or whether it’s all just part of the process.

Not having a legal background can cause low confidence, if you’re in a situation where you need to understand your rights and the dentist’s responsibilities and duty of care to you as their patient.


What is Duty of Care

This is one of the most important definitions to understand for dental negligence claims. Not adhering to the below when you are under their care as a patient is a breach of a duty of care to you.


Dentists are expected to provide treatment and care of a reasonable standard a and stay informed about the latest developments in dentistry and adhere to professional standards.

Example of a breach – solving a present-day issue with an outdated procedure resulting in poor results, or attempting a procedure they haven’t been trained in, or providing treatment or care below a reasonable standard.

Informed Consent

Dentists have a duty to inform patients about the nature of their dental condition, the proposed treatment, potential risks and benefits, and alternative options. Patients have the right to make informed decisions about their dental care.

Example of a breach – undue pressure or stress to go ahead with a cosmetic treatment for example, or not highlighting risks of treatment and the alternative options before going ahead.


Dentists must protect the privacy of patients and not disclose sensitive information without your say so, unless required by law.

Example of a breach – a dentist sharing details of your dental procedures and oral health issues without your permission is a violation of your right to privacy and confidentiality.

Safe Practices

Dentists are responsible for creating a safe and hygienic environment in their dental practice, following infection control and safety protocols.

Example of a breach – unclean surgery or tools, poor lighting or malfunctioning equipment.


Dentists are expected to conduct themselves professionally and ethically, treating patients with respect.

Example of a breach – subjecting you to threatening, intimidating or coercive behaviour.

Emergency Response

Dentists should have emergency protocols in place and be trained to handle unexpected situations that may arise during dental procedures.

Example of a breach – dentist fails to see a patient with severe infection, which can become life-threatening.

It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with scenarios like these to help you recognise potential signs of dental negligence.


What is Dental Negligence?

Understanding dental negligence is the first step in recognising when something has gone wrong with your own dental care.

Dental negligence occurs when the standard of care or treatment provided by the Dentist falls below what is considered acceptable. So if in your gut, you’ve noticed something isn’t quite right, what can you do?


Get in Touch with Dental Law

Remember, this is a simplified guide, and seeking advice from a legal professional is crucial when dealing with suspected dental negligence. Legal experts like us can provide you with personalised guidance based on the specific details of your situation and make sure you aren’t alone in your pursuit of justice.

At Dental Law, we’re here to provide you with the support and justice you deserve. Make a change to your circumstances and break free from the cloud of dental malpractice today with our no-win, no-fee service. 

Complete our simple online claim questionnaire or free phone 0800 152 2036 and one of our dedicated team will be there to take your call.