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Case Study


• 56-year-old Alison Smith from Cadishead, Manchester suffered 15 months of agony after local dentist botched root canal treatment
• Mrs Smith’s tooth ended up being so badly damaged it eventually had to be extracted
• £14,000 awarded in compensation

From December 2010 to March 2015 Mrs Smith visited her dentist DR S. “I had a lovely set of teeth when I first visited Dr S,” Mrs Smith said. “I’d visited him several times before my problems began. I trusted he was a good dentist.”

In May 2011, Mrs Smith was suffering from toothache so made an appointment with Dr S. He initially prescribed antibiotics and her pain subsided. But two years later she was back in the dentist’s chair suffering from pain at the same tooth. This time the dentist recommended root canal treatment and a crown.

“I wasn’t particularly concerned,” Mrs Smith recalls. “You hear about people having root canal treatment all the time. I thought it would just be a routine procedure.”

Dr S undertook root canal treatment in October 2014. But Mrs Smith was still experiencing pain at the tooth in February 2015. So in yet another attempt to relieve Mrs Smith’s toothache, the dentist repeated the root canal treatment and prescribed multiple sets of antibiotics. But her excruciating pain still persisted, and in July 2015 Mrs Smith was referred to hospital to have the treatment repeated again.

“The pain was horrendous,” Mrs Smith recalls. “It was just excruciating, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t close my mouth and I was in agony from the moment I woke up to when I fell asleep – if I was lucky enough to sleep at all. The pain was worse when I lay down so I ended up having to sleep upright. I thought it would stop after being referred to hospital but it still didn’t. I just couldn’t understand why the root canal treatment needed to be repeated again and again. In hindsight, I suppose it didn’t make sense, but you trust your dentist.”

In January 2016 Mrs Smith returned to see Dr S, with toothache once again. This time the tooth was finally extracted, which led to further intense pain and discomfort.

“This really was the final straw,” Mrs Smith explained. “I’d had endless root canal treatment and now I was told the tooth needed to be extracted. I couldn’t believe it.”

“The fact all my pain and suffering was avoidable is shocking,” Mrs Smith said. “If Dr S had just undertaken the root canal treatment properly I wouldn’t have suffered 15 months of agony. I even had to stop playing darts with my team because I was no fun to be around.”

“I couldn’t go to another dentist because no one wanted to touch Dr S’s work, so I had to keep visiting him despite fearing the treatment each time. I was in so much pain I couldn’t concentrate at work. Constant pain affects your mood, so my performance really suffered too,” she continued.

Georgina France of The Dental Law Partnership commented, “The distress and pain our client experienced was completely unnecessary. If the dentist had carried out adequate treatment in the first place, all of her problems could have been avoided. We hope the compensation she receives goes some way towards paying for the additional treatment required.”