If a dental abscess has set you back, we'll help you move forward
Dental abscesses can cause excruciating pain and require immediate care.
If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by a dental abscess injury, we can help. If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, midwife or other medical professional, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist clinical negligence solicitor.
In this article
A dental abscess is an infection of the tissues that surround the tooth root, characterised by the buildup of pus in the infected area. The condition is caused by bacteria entering the tooth, usually as a result of tooth damage or decay.
Dentists owe their patients a duty of care to spot medical conditions of the mouth at the earliest opportunity. With timely treatment, a dental abscess rarely causes any long-term health problems. However, if a dentist fails to diagnose or treat a condition the dental abscess may grow and create permanent problems for the teeth, mouth and jaw.
If you have suffered a dental abscess after receiving inadequate dental treatment you may be eligible to make a dental negligence compensation claim.
How much compensation can I claim for a dental abscess?
The amount of money you could claim for your injury will depend on:
- the seriousness of your injury, and
- any financial losses or costs you have incurred.
At the start of your claim, your solicitor will consider the many ways your injuries have affected your life. Your solicitor will take these considerations into account to calculate the correct compensation award.
Get an accurate compensation estimate (including for multiple injuries), confirm your legal position, and check if you have a No Win, No Fee claim.
Updated December 2023
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General damages are awarded for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA).
Awards for general damages are set by the Judicial College and published in their guidelines for personal injury awards.
Special damages is compensation for quantifiable financial losses you've incurred as a result of your dental abscess Compensation can include lost earnings, lost earnings, and any additional expenses directly related to your injury.
These damages will also cover any medical or treatment bills, such as antibiotics, pain medication, dental drainage and dental surgery.
Dental abscess symptoms
Initially, a dental abscess may not have any symptoms. However, as the dental abscess develops, the patient usually will begin to experience the following:
- Severe toothache, usually described as a throbbing or shooting pain
- Bitter taste in the mouth
- Pain while chewing
- Red or swollen gums
- Visible draining of the pus into the mouth
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Swelling of the jaw.
Occasionally, the toothache associated with a dental abscess may stop once the tooth pulp and nerves have been damaged. This may discourage patients from seeking the dental treatment they need. Even without pain, the infection may continue to eat through tissue causing irreparable damage to the bone structure of the jaw.
How is a dental abscess treated?
Dental abscesses are usually treated using a combination of antibiotics and draining the abscess to remove all pus and bacteria. In serious cases, the abscess may have to be surgically removed.
Early diagnosis is critical to the chances of a patient making a full recovery from a dental abscess injury. When treatment is delayed, the infection could spread causing damage to other parts of the .
Making a claim for a dental abscess injury
Dental staff owe a duty of care to provide treatment in a professional and timely manner. A claim may arise whenever this duty is breached and the patient suffers injury as a result. Examples include:
- A delay in diagnosing the dental abscess
- Failing to treat tooth damage or decay in a timely manner
- Incomplete draining of a dental abscess resulting in further infection
- Failing to provide a course of antibiotics
- Complications following deep cleaning treatments
- Mistakes during the removal of an abscess may give rise to a surgical error claim.
This list is not exhaustive. A claim may be made whenever it can be shown that the dentist behaved in a manner which fell short of the required standard. The arguments will often be highly technical, revolving around the details of specialist dental reports.
What if my dental abscess was misdiagnosed?
While few dentists would fail to spot an established dental abscess, they may miss certain types of tooth damage that, without the proper treatment, could lead to the development a dental abscess in the future. Mistakes of this kind can result in a medical misdiagnosis claim, one of the most common types of dental negligence compensation claim.
Failing to spot a dental problem can increase the pain and discomfort of the patient, prolong the recovery period and in serious cases, reduce the health outcome of the patient. Where it can be shown that a negligent misdiagnosis has caused or exacerbated the patient's dental abscess, a claim for compensation may be made.
How we can help you with your medical negligence claim
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.
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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.