Pregnant mum describes pain of toothache ‘on a par with childbirth’ after three dentists’ multiple failings
Mother-of-two, Emily Naylor from Nottinghamshire, endured excruciating toothache throughout both her pregnancies after maltreatment from 3 different dentists.
The 32-year-old customer assistant had been treated by Kirkby Dental Centre in Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottingham all her life, but it was the failure of three of the practice’s dentists, Dr Fletcher, Dr Shamsaldeen and most prominently, Dr Kornov, which resulted in Emily enduring prolonged periods of tooth pain throughout both her pregnancies and the loss of four teeth.
Dr Fletcher treated Emily in June 2006 and failed to fully analyse X-rays and promptly treat tooth decay in four of her teeth. Between October 2008 and September 2009, Dr Shamsaldeen further failed to treat decay that was evident. But it was the dental care Emily received from Dr Kornov during both of her pregnancies that prompted her to seek legal advice from leading UK law firm, the Dental Law Partnership.
Emily explains: “In March 2011 I found out I was pregnant and almost immediately started experiencing a lot of toothache on the lower left side of my mouth. It was so painful that I couldn’t brush around the area and I was up all night as a result of it.”
Keen to resolve the issue, Emily arranged an appointment with her dentist, Dr Kornov at Kirkby Dental Centre, which she had regularly visited as a patient since she was five-years-old. “I went to see Dr Kornov and he explained that I had an infection and prescribed antibiotics. Despite the medication the pain continued so I went back to see him almost every week throughout my pregnancy, to try and find a treatment that would work. I felt so down, all I wanted to do was go to sleep as that was the only time I couldn’t feel the pain.”
Dr Kornov advised Emily that, as she was pregnant, he was unable to give her either an X-ray or the filling that she needed, so he inserted a temporary filling. However, associate solicitor, Heather Owen at Dental Law Partnership, which has brought legal action against Dr Kornov, Dr Fletcher and Dr Shamsaldeen, following their gross incompetence in handling Emily’s treatment, investigated this and received expert advice that low-dose dental X-rays are in fact allowable during late stages of pregnancy.
Heather explained: “Dr Kornov failed to advise Emily that dental X-rays were in fact acceptable during the relevant late stage of her pregnancy and he failed to provide her with the care that would have avoided prolonged periods of excruciating pain, during and following both her pregnancies. His failure to use reasonable skill and care during his numerous assessments of Emily, her diagnosis and her treatment, meant that she endured procedures including the removal of teeth and root canal treatments, which could have been avoided.”
In December 2011, Emily gave birth to a six pound nine ounce baby boy. Still suffering with the painful toothache that had caused her such misery throughout her pregnancy, Emily went back to see Dr Kornov. “Following the birth of my eldest son in January 2012, I went back to see Dr Kornov and he gave me ten fillings without any pain relief. After this the pain wasn’t too bad.
However, in May 2012, Emily started to experience toothache yet again: “The pain started again in the bottom left of my mouth. It was a Sunday, so I arranged an appointment with the emergency dentist. She did an X-ray and started root canal treatment on my tooth and advised me that it would need to be continued with my regular dentist. Within days of that appointment I found out I was pregnant with my second son. I went back to see Dr Kornov but he advised me that he couldn’t do anymore treatment as I was pregnant and again, he prescribed me antibiotics.”
As in her first pregnancy, Emily continued to experience unbearable toothache despite being prescribed antibiotics, and, keen to get it treated, she went back to see Dr Kornov on a regular basis. Emily said: “I didn’t really want to go, but the pain was so severe I ended up back in his surgery every other week during my second pregnancy. Dr Kornov advised me that I had enamel deficiency and that the baby was taking all the calcium from my teeth, which was causing the problems.”
Heather added: “It’s not possible for a baby to cause its mother enamel deficiency during pregnancy. This was just another instance of Dr Kornov’s gross incompetence in handling Emily’s treatment.”
In August 2012, whilst Dr Kornov was on holiday, Emily was offered an appointment with a different dentist, Dr Hobotova. Emily explained: “She couldn’t believe what Dr Kornov had done. Just before I saw her, Dr Kornov had removed a tooth to ease the pain but despite me telling him where the pain was, he removed the wrong tooth and so the pain continued. Dr Hobotova advised that she could leave the tooth until after I’d had my baby and treat it with root canal, or have it removed there and then. Despite the tooth being visible when I smile, I choose to have it removed as I’d had enough of the pain. After the initial discomfort of the procedure, the pain completely stopped.”
Following the appointment, Emily asked to permanently be treated by Dr Hobotova, she explained: “I asked if I could change my dentist from Dr Kornov to Dr Hobotova as I knew something wasn’t right. The amount of time I had been at the dentist just wasn’t normal.
“At my next appointment with Dr Hobotova, Dr Kornov came in to the room. Dr Hobotova had just given me an anaesthetic before giving me a filling. Despite his dental nurse telling him he’d a patient in his room, Dr Kornov remained in the room until Dr Hobotova had finished the procedure. When I left Dr Hobotova’s room, Dr Kornov followed me to reception and asked me all sorts of questions like why I’d changed dentist?, Was I happy with Dr Hobotova? Coupled with the adrenaline from the anaesthetic I’d received for the filling, his questioning made me feel panicked.” Following the incident, the practice called Emily and apologised.
In December 2012, following the confrontation with Dr Kornov, Emily sought advice and instructed Dental Law Partnership to take on her case. The case was settled in an out of court settlement and Emily received £26,000 in damages, however, none of the defendants admitted liability.
Concluding, Emily said: “During my first pregnancy, I had never felt so dark in all my life. The pain I experienced with my teeth is on a par with childbirth – it was agony. It also left me feeling like a zombie when my son was born. I would give all the money I have received back for a better and more enjoyable pregnancy.
“Although I have no pain in my teeth at the moment, I know that I’m going to have to have a lot of work done in the future. The money I have received will fund further treatment and will help me to get my confidence back.”
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