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Case Study

University of Salford lecturer awarded £8,000 after failed root canal treatment


Dr Mustafa Alchelabi, a 51-year-old mathematics lecturer from Whalley Range, Manchester has been awarded £8,000 from his former dentist with the help of specialist dental negligence solicitors the Dental Law Partnership. Dr Alchelabi had been seeing Dr Michael Sapong, his dentist at The Dental Practice, 135 Wilbraham Road in Fallowfield, Manchester regularly for over two decades.

In 2018, one of Dr Alchelabi’s upper right teeth was becoming increasingly sensitive. He visited The Dental Practice and was seen by a different dentist to Dr Sapong who recommended he have root canal treatment on the tooth. However, Dr Alchelabi wanted to get a second opinion from his normal dentist. He said, “I really trusted Dr Sapong as I had been seeing him for 20 years, so wanted to get his opinion. He informed me that I just needed another filling and to clean out the tooth more. After the filling was done my tooth was extremely sensitive but I was told it would eventually settle”.

However, after a week Dr Alchelabi still could not eat or drink properly. Describing the pain, he said “I was experiencing real difficulty eating and drinking and was in a lot of pain and discomfort when cleaning my teeth, so I went back to see Dr Sapong. I told him about the continued pain and sensitivity and he prescribed me antibiotics and advised that I did need root canal treatment, after all”.

After a month, Dr Alchelabi was still in an immense amount of pain and felt as though the antibiotics had not made much difference. He stated, “I went back to see Dr Sapong in January 2019 for an X-ray and the results showed I had significant decay which he had failed to spot. I underwent root canal treatment the following week and had a filling placed. My tooth still felt sensitive six months later but by then Dr Sapong said there was nothing further he could do and that I was just going to have to live with the pain, have the tooth extracted, or see a specialist”.

Upon hearing this, Dr Alchelabi said, “I was extremely disappointed with Dr Sapong and his dismissive attitude. I decided to visit a specialist at a private practice who diagnosed that my root canal treatment had failed and advised me to have another root canal treatment for £600. I opted to have the root canal treatment but I’m still in pain and will require an implant in future.”

Elaborating on the impact of the oral ordeal, Dr Alchelabi said, “I lived in pain for months and months which stopped me doing my normal activities like lecturing, and therefore impacted my job and daily life. My mood got really low and this impacted everyone around me. I wouldn’t wish the experience on my worst enemy”.

Dr Alchelabi contacted the Dental Law Partnership in 2020. Analysis of his dental records revealed that if Dr Sapong had investigated adequately and intervened in a timely fashion, Dr Alchelabi would not have suffered repeat canal treatment and the future loss of his tooth.

Amanda Pietrusiak of the Dental Law Partnership commented: “The distress and pain our client has experienced was completely unnecessary. If the dentist had carried out appropriate consultation and adequate treatment in the first place, many of the problems could have been avoided.”

The Dental Law Partnership took on Dr Alchelabi’s case in 2020. The case was settled in May 2023 when the dentist paid £8,000 in an out of court settlement. The dentist involved did not admit liability.

Any patients who believe they may have received negligent dental care should visit