STUDENT WINS £60,000 IN COMPENSATION FROM LOCAL ORTHODONTIST AFTER HE BOTCHED BRACEWORK
• 20-year-old Mr Jack Jones from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, saw his oral health deteriorate when his teeth started to slant and twist whilst he had braces on
• He will lose five teeth in the future and will need to have implants as a result
• £60,000 received in compensation
Mr Jack Jones, a 20-year-old student from Stevenage, Hertfordshire has won £60,000 in compensation from his local orthodontist with the help of specialist dental negligence solicitors, the Dental Law Partnership. The orthodontist’s failure to provide satisfactory orthodontic treatment over a three year period resulted in Mr Jones having surgery on his jaw and extensive corrective treatment.
In February 2010, Mr Jones was referred to Dr Jonathan Alexander-Abt at Inline Orthodontics, Stevenage by his dentist as he still had two baby teeth that were blocking his adult teeth from coming through.
“Dr Alexander-Abt said to me that the best option would be to have my two baby teeth taken out, and to see if the two adult teeth came down naturally over the next couple of years,” Mr Jones explained. “He said I would then need braces to straighten my teeth out and that this may discolour my teeth slightly.”
Mr Jones had his baby teeth extracted in March 2010. Over the next two years the adult canine tooth on the left hand side came down but the one on the right hand side did not.
In March 2012, after the 24 month wait period was up, Mr Jones went to see Dr Alexander-Abt to have his upper brace fitted. He continued to see Dr Alexander-Abt and other orthodontists at the practice every six weeks for routine check-ups over the next two years.
“I was never told that there was anything wrong in that time,” Mr Jones recalled. “But every time I went to see Dr Alexander-Abt and the other orthodontists, they wouldn’t let my mum come with me. It was a bit odd and it made me feel very uncertain as there was a lot of terminology that I didn’t understand. I was only fourteen at the time, so I just nodded and agreed.”
Between June 2010 and March 2015, Mr Jones frequently returned to see Dr Alexander-Abt as he had recurring problems with his brace and the adult tooth on the right hand side had still not come down. More worryingly, the rest of his teeth had started to tilt.
“I was so worried about my teeth. They were tilting and twisting and people were noticing and asking me about it, I felt so self-conscious.” Mr Jones said.
“Each time I spoke to Dr Alexander-Abt and the other orthodontists they just kept saying that it was normal and to wait until the next appointment to see if it got better. My mum even rang to speak to them as she was really worried and didn’t know what was going on either.”
After the phone call, Mr Jones and his mum went to see one of the other orthodontists at the practice. She confirmed Mr Jones’s fear that his teeth should not have been tilting in the way that they were. She referred Mr Jones to Lister Hospital to have his teeth re-aligned and to have the remaining adult tooth pulled down.
“The consultant told me that the tooth was stuck to my jaw and I would need surgery to detach it,” Mr Jones explained. “He just tapped it and could tell instantly. I felt so frustrated at Dr Alexander-Abt. I’ve had braces on for the last six years and they’ve just made my teeth worse!”
Mr Jones had surgery on his jaw to detach the tooth from his jaw bone in August 2017. He will have to wear a permanent retainer behind his upper teeth for the rest of his life once his braces come off. He will also need to have at least five of his teeth extracted in the future and have implants placed.
“The whole experience completely shattered my confidence,” Mr Jones recalled. “Dr Alexander-Abt said that I would have braces on for two years tops and six years later, I still have them on. People always comment on my braces when they see me and I just don’t smile anymore in pictures. I really can’t wait for this all to be over!”
Heather Owen of the Dental Law Partnership commented: “What our client went through was completely unnecessary. If the orthodontist had carried out adequate treatment in the first place, all the problems he experienced could have been avoided and he would not have had braces on for this unnecessary length of time.”
The Dental Law Partnership took on Mr Jones’s case in August 2015. The case was successfully settled in January 2018 when the orthodontist paid £60,000 in an out of court settlement. The orthodontist did not admit liability.