Dental Abscess Compensation Claims

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

The purpose of this guide is to help anyone who has suffered a dental abscess 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 dental abscess compensation:

Introduction

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.

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 body.

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 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.

No win, no fee, no risk

No win, no fee removes the risk from making a dental abscess claim. If you don't win your claim, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.

No win, no fee promise

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making a dental abscess 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 dental abscess 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 dental abscess claim?

If your dental abscess claim is not successful then you do not have to pay any legal fees whatsoever. 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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Dental abscess 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