Dental Negligence Can Be A Real Kick In The Teeth
We all fear that trip to the dentist, the six month mark is looming and you have informed your employer that you will need an hour or two off to make sure you can still have a toffee apple or two come October time. But what happens when it doesn’t go so well? What happens when that routine trip turns into a world of pain, misery and costly dental treatment?
If you find yourself pondering the same questions and you don’t believe you have been treated properly by your dentist, Roberts Jackson Solicitors can provide free legal advice and even assist you if you wish to pursue compensation.
It has been reported that there are roughly 479 complaints about dentists every day in the UK  which indicates that errors are made frequently within the profession. While it is promising that complaints are being recorded and that there is someone to report bad practice to, not all of these complaints will be about the treatment received. Complaints could also be about waiting times, rude bedside manner or on occasion, communication breakdown between dentist and patient.
A recent study has found that complaints to the Hospital and Community Health services about dental care are actually down from the previous year however only 43% of practices responded to the survey. A more accurate statistic is from the Family Health Service who reported 6,793 complaints about the dental care they had received in 2013-14. This accounts for 11.5 % of all NHS complaints received in the same period.
Dental Negligence is usually due to an error during a check-up or surgery. Errors of this nature can leave patients in a great deal of pain along with other complications. It may be possible to bring a claim but there may also be an onus on the victim following the correct procedures in order to be eligible.*
We find the most common cases arise from:
- Administration Errors – This could be a failure to send the correct medical notes which can lead to incorrect prescription of medication or even mistakes during a surgical procedure.
- Misdiagnosis – A misdiagnosis by your dentist can lead to prevention of the correct treatment and lead to further complications.
- Cosmetic Errors
- Substandard Treatment – Treatment carried out way below the expected level can lead to loss of teeth, scarring and further corrective treatment.
Interestingly other statistics  point to a 20 minute average visit time whilst in the dentist chair, nearly double the time spent in a GP’s room on your average visit (8-10 minutes). With the time spent speaking and being examined by your dentist it is hard to see how mistakes are being made in this volume. We would always advise though, that if you have any concerns about the treatment or advice you are receiving to speak with your dentist about it there and then and make sure you thoroughly record what has been advised and what treatment has been carried out.
*When trying to bring a claim it also worth making the initial complaint yourself and as soon as possible. These two things will greatly increase your chances of successfully being awarded compensation. You only have a certain amount of time to bring a claim for Dental Negligence so be sure to get in touch and seek legal advice as soon as your complaint has been made. If you are unsure of the complaints procedure, please feel free to give us a quick a call and we will be able to advise you on the next steps to take as well as discuss the details with you there and then.
 Health and Social Care Information Centre