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Dental negligence claims for tooth extractions

Although the majority of tooth extractions are completed without any complications, there may be occasions where problems arise. During an extraction, the tooth can fracture, in which case the dentist should not go any further with surgery unless an x-ray has been carried out on the remaining roots. If the dentist carries on but does not have the skill or experience required to complete the procedure successfully, this could become a case for dental negligence.

Nerves can also become damaged during a tooth extraction, which may be due to an unsatisfactory level of care and be evidence of dental negligence. If your dentist removes the wrong tooth, and unfortunately this does happen from time to time, you can then bring a claim for dental negligence compensation.

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Before your dentist carries out this, or any other, treatment, you should be made fully aware of the dangers and risks involved. You should also be confident in the level of skill your dentist holds, as well as knowing the method they will be taking in order to repair the problem.

What is tooth extraction?

Tooth extraction is when an entire permanent tooth is removed from its socket in the jawbone. Dental extraction is usually a last resort procedure, after other treatment options have not been successful, or if the tooth is simply too damaged to be saved and will cause more problems if it remains where it is.

Why would you need a tooth extraction?

There are number of reasons why teeth may need to be removed. If you’re experiencing a certain level of tooth decay, they may require extraction in order to prevent further issues. Gum disease can lead to the loosening of teeth, so if there is too much damage to be repaired, your dentist may suggest removal. Wisdom teeth removal is also a common procedure carried out by dentists.

Tooth extraction negligence

Whilst most tooth extraction procedures go ahead successfully, without any issues, sometimes we are let down by dental professionals and mistakes do happen. If your dentist was at fault for a poor tooth extraction or you were injured during the procedure due to a mistake that your dentist made, you may be eligible for compensation.

The tooth extraction process

A tooth should not be extracted unless you have undergone a thorough oral examination by your dentist, which in most cases will include an x-ray in order to establish the best way to complete the removal. It’s also important you ensure that your dentist is aware of your dental and medical history before the treatment commences.

It’s common for a simple extraction to take place using local anaesthetic, which will remove pain throughout the procedure allowing the tooth to be loosened and removed. Although you will be conscious during the treatment, discomfort will be reduced to a minimum as the area is numbed before the extraction attempt.

A more complex procedure is known as a surgical extraction, which may be carried out by oral surgeons and usually involves a section of the gum being cut and peeled back before bone is removed and the tooth is extracted. The flap of gum is then sewn back into place to allow healing to occur.

Failed tooth extractions

A tooth extraction could be considered to have ‘failed’ for a variety of different reasons. These include:

  • The full tooth and root(s) were not removed, leaving some matter behind that could cause future problems
  • nerve injury occurred during the extraction
  • The tooth could not be successfully extracted during the procedure
  • The wrong tooth was extracted.

Whilst not all of the above circumstances may mean than your dentist was at fault, if you believe that they made a mistake that caused you pain, suffering or meant that further dental treatment was needed, you might be able to make a compensation claim for possible failed tooth extraction

Risks & problems associated with tooth extractions

 

There are risks associated with any type of dental procedure, so your dentist should explain fully what the extraction involves and any post-extraction care that is needed to minimise the risks of developing any future problems because of it. Some of the most common problems experienced after an extraction include:

Dry socket

This is where a blood clot (which is usually naturally formed by the body and acts as a protective layer whilst healing) does not form properly in the tooth socket, or if it dissolves or dislodges before the area has healed. It can cause severe pain; the area can become inflamed and over the counter medication won’t be enough to treat the symptoms. Dry socket is more likely to be experienced if the extraction was difficult, as trauma caused to the area can increase the chances of this occurring.

Nerve injury

During an extraction, it can be possible for some nerve damage to occur. Whilst this damage can be temporary in most cases, usually lasting a few weeks or months, it can be permanent if the damage is severe. Nerve damage generally results in pain, a tingling sensation, or can show as numbness in the tongue, lip, chin, teeth or gums.

Infection

The mouth is full of bacteria and whilst this isn’t always a bad thing, it can result in an infection after a tooth extraction for some patients. After an extraction, it’s normal to experience a little bleeding and pain in the day or so after the procedure, but if it continues after this, or gets worse, it can be a sign of infection. Some people also experience swelling and pus as a result of an infection.

If you experience any problems after a tooth extraction, you should visit a dentist as soon as possible.

How much does an extraction cost?

 

If you receive NHS dental treatment that you pay for, a tooth extraction falls into Band 2 treatment, along with fillings and root canal treatments. You can find updated costs for all dental treatment bands here.

If you are receiving private dental treatment, the cost of an extraction will vary, as private practices can set their own prices. These are likely to depend on where in the country you are, as well as the experience level and seniority of the dentist carrying out the procedure and can range from around £50 to several hundred pounds.

Tooth extraction complications and problems

 

Whilst most tooth extractions are carried out with no problems, there are some potential risks and complications that your dentist should discuss with you before the extraction procedure takes place. These include:

  • Pain, bleeding, inflammation and infection around the extraction site after the procedure, which will delay healing
  • Your teeth not aligning properly after the extraction
  • An infected or ‘Dry’ socket, where the blood clot that forms over the extraction site is dislodged
  • Bite collapse, where the extraction causes bite problems due to the structural changes in the remaining teeth
  • A nerve injury; most common in wisdom tooth extraction, this type of injury to the nerve can be minor, moderate or severe, with potentially long-lasting or permanent pain, tingling or numbness.

If you suffer one or more of these complications and you believe it to be as a result of your dentist delivering a poor standard of care or making errors, you might be eligible to make a claim for tooth extraction negligence. Get in touch for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if there is a problem with my extraction?

There are a number of ways in which you may be able to tell that an extraction has caused a further dental condition or that the procedure was not carried out to a good standard. These signs may not always mean you have been a victim of dental negligence, but it’s important that you take action if you experience any of them and visit a dentist as soon as possible.

  • Pain that last longer than a few days after the extraction procedure was carried out
  • Swelling of the area or pus forming
  • Bleeding that lasts longer than a couple of days after the procedure

What’s involved in a dental negligence claim for tooth extraction?

The process of bringing any dental negligence claim starts with you seeking expert legal advice, such as that offered by the Dental Law Partnership, to find out whether you are eligible to make a claim for compensation and what your options are. You can see more about the process of making a dental negligence claim here.

How much compensation could I get for a tooth extraction claim?

The amount of compensation that you could get for a successful tooth extraction negligence claim will depend on the specific details of your case. If your claim goes to court and is successful, a judge will decide on the compensation amount to be paid, which should take into account the pain and suffering that you have experienced as a result of the negligence. However, most dental negligence cases are settled before they reach this point. Your legal representatives should discuss the various options with you at every stage of your claim, to help you get the most positive possible outcome.

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