Cosmetic Dentistry Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a cosmetic dentistry injury we can help.

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a cosmetic dentistry injury and is considering a legal claim for compensation. If you are looking for medical advice, please see the NHS website.

In our guide to claiming cosmetic dentistry compensation:

Introduction

The number of people having dentist procedures in the UK is on the rise. In 2019 and 2020, 19.7m adults were seen by an NHS dentist, including cosmetic dentistry

While the majority of cosmetic dentistry procedures are successful, a small number fail to produce the desired outcome or create adverse outcomes, such as health problems and scarring. Not every negative outcome will entitle the injured patient to recover compensation, however.

For a claim to succeed, it must be established that the practitioner responsible for the procedure was negligent. Proving negligence will depend on the facts of the case.

What is cosmetic dentistry?

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) understands that there is no clear distinction between necessary or cosmetic dentistry. A dental procedure will frequently involve both treatment that is considered necessary and cosmetic work.

It is a clinical judgement made by the dental professional, based on the individual circumstance of each patient. Cosmetic dental procedures cannot be performed by the NHS - they are instead performed by private dentists.

People have cosmetic dentistry procedures for various reasons, from straightening crooked teeth to whitening discoloured teeth. Crowns, veneers and other dentist procedures may be considered cosmetic if they are performed to improve appearance rather than for medical necessity.

Cosmetic dental negligence

In order to make a cosmetic dentistry claim, you must be able to prove that your injuries are the result of dental negligence. In general, negligence will fall into one of two categories:

Misdiagnosis cases

Misdiagnosis claims involve cases where the dentist fails to identify the cause of the dental problem, or incorrectly identifies the cause. This could lead to incorrect treatment being administered, which could worsen the problem or cause further oral damage.

In the context of cosmetic work, it may be the case that inappropriate cosmetic dentistry is recommended when more substantial dental treatment would be more suitable, or an underlying dental health issue is missed when undertaking cosmetic work.

As cosmetic dentistry is performed privately, you could also face extra costs to have the incorrect procedure rectified. It may be possible to claim for these costs when making a claim.

Inadequate dental technique cases

These cases stem from the dentist using incorrect or inadequate dental techniques.

Poor technique in dental cases can lead to serious complications including further oral problems, infection and severe pain, all of which could be factored into a claim.

Cosmetic dental procedures and dental negligence

There are a number of cosmetic procedures that could go wrong due to misdiagnosis or inadequate dental technique. Resolving these issues can be expensive and require further procedures for removals and repairs. You may be able to claim compensation for the following procedures if they are not performed correctly:

Crowns - If not fitted correctly, crowns can cause damage to the underlying teeth, leading to tooth decay and infection.

Braces - A common remedy to straighten teeth, if braces are fitted badly or not maintained effectively then patients can experience difficulties once the braces have been removed.

Veneers - Applying veneers requires the removal of part of the front of the tooth before fitting the veneer over the top. If this precise procedure is not performed correctly, the teeth can become sensitive, decay, and the tooth may die.

Teeth whitening - Whitening teeth by using chemicals or lasers can weaken the tooth enamel and cause tooth decay.

Gum procedures - In some cases the gums can be altered in order to make teeth appear straighter. If the gums are removed too far, this can reveal the root of the tooth which is extremely sensitive and more prone to decay.

Making a claim for cosmetic dental negligence

When making a cosmetic dentistry claim, the following will be taken into account to calculate the compensation you may be entitled to:

  • Pain and suffering caused as a result of dental procedures
  • Costs of further procedures to rectify the mistake
  • Psychological damage as a result of the procedure
  • Income lost due to incapacitation

No win, no fee - the facts

With a no win, no fee agreement, your solicitor agrees that you will have no legal fees to pay whatsoever if your claim is not successful.

Our no win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is absolutely no financial risk in making a cosmetic dentistry claim - even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my cosmetic dentistry claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my cosmetic dentistry claim?

If your cosmetic dentistry claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees at all. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

What is Legal Aid available for?

In 2000, the government abolished the right to legal aid in medical negligence cases. Depending on an individual's circumstances, Legal Aid may be available for discrimination cases, criminal cases, family mediation and court or tribunal representation.

How can Quittance help?

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning medical negligence claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open 8am to 9pm weekdays, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Sunday.

Call us FREE 0800 376 1001 or arrange a callback:

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Cosmetic dentistry FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more about claiming on behalf of another person.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. The vast majority of claims that are settled by the solicitor panel are settled out of court.

Only a very small percentage (approx. 5%) of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are held in front of a judge, not a jury.

Read more: Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

Will I have to go to a solicitor's office?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. As with most professional services, it is no longer necessary to meet face to face with your solicitor. Personal injury claims are dealt with via email, post and telephone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more: Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

Can I get an early compensation payment?

If you suffer financial hardship as a result of an injury, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is a partial settlement of your claim which is paid before your claim is concluded. The amount you receive in interim payments would then be deducted from your final compensation settlement or award.

Read more about interim compensation payments.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Author:
Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor