So, you pluck up the courage to go to your dentist to get those fillings done or to have the root canal treatment you have been dreading for months. You come out of the dental surgery expecting healthier teeth but what you end up with is more pain and discomfort.  If this sounds familiar, then it is time to talk to a Solicitor.


From reviewing your dental records to find out why treatment was necessary, to assessing what went wrong in the dentist’s chair, a solicitor can help to establish whether the treatment you received fell below the expected standard and if so whether compensation should be paid. They can also help to ensure that you are treated properly going forward.


Clare Galvani, Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence specialist at Lamb Brooks in Basingstoke explains more:


‘When you go to see a dentist, you are entitled to be treated with reasonable skill and care. Where the service you receive is substandard and you suffer as a result, this may amount to negligence, and if it does you are well within your rights to ask your dentist to make amends’, says Clare.


When Is Dental Work Negligent?


Dental treatment will be negligent where it can be shown that the way your dentist treated you fell below the standard expected. This may be the case, for example, where your dentist has;

  • failed to diagnose you with a condition that dentists are trained to spot, such as mouth cancer or gum disease
  • unnecessarily removed a healthy tooth
  • failed to properly secure a dental crown or veneer
  • carried out inadequate bridge or orthodontic work
  • poorly performed teeth bleaching
  • failed to properly fill your teeth
  • failed to spot and treat tooth decay
  • caused permanent nerve damage

How Much Compensation Can You Claim?


If your dentist has been negligent then the amount of compensation you can claim will depend on the amount of harm caused and the cost of any treatment needed to repair the damage.


In most cases compensation can be claimed for the pain and suffering you have endured together with the cost of any further treatment you require. You can also claim for any related financial losses, such as loss of earnings, if you have been unable to work or have had to take time off to attend medical appointments.

How Do you Make A Claim?


To make a claim, your solicitor will need to review your dental records to establish the strength of your claim and prospects of success. If following review, it is felt that the treatment received fell below the expected standard then it will be necessary to instruct an independent dental expert to prepare a report.


If the expert concludes that your care and treatment fell below the expected standard and that as a result of this you have suffered pain and/or further damage that you would not have otherwise suffered, then a letter of claim will be sent to your dentist to explain your case and to ask whether they admit fault. Your dentist will normally pass this on to their insurers and they will have four months to provide a formal letter of response.


If your dentist/the insurers admit that they were negligent then it will then be necessary to have you examined by the independent expert so that a Condition and Prognosis report can be prepared. This report will be used to assess the level of compensation that should be sought. If negligence is denied, or if the amount of compensation to be paid cannot be agreed, your solicitor will have to issue a claim at court to get the matter resolved.


There are strict time limits for making a compensation claim, so it is important to act quickly.


The cost of investigating your claim, and of taking the matter to court if necessary, can usually be funded under a conditional fee agreement (no win, no fee) which means there may possibly be no legal fees to pay unless your claim is successful.


If you or a family member have received poor dental treatment, please contact Clare Galvani on 01256 844888 or email clare.galvani@lambbrooks.com to find out how we can help.


The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.