Dental Negligence Compensation Claims

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

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

Introduction

Dental negligence can permanently damage your teeth, and leave you in more pain than you were suffering when you first visited the dentist.

Serious dental negligence can also lead to long-term health issues, stress and psychological harm.

If you have been the injured or become ill as the result of dental negligence, you may be able to claim compensation for the harm you have suffered.

What is dental negligence?

Dental negligence claims and orthodontist negligence claims generally fall into 3 main categories. These categories are:

  • Problems with diagnosis, such as misdiagnosis or a failure to act.
  • Cases where the dentist's technique is inadequate.
  • Cases where a dentist is careless.

Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis and delays in referral can result in serious complications, such as tooth infection or untreated oral cancer spreading.

If a dentist fails to correctly diagnose a condition it may lead to the wrong treatment being administered, or no treatment at all. The condition may worsen, causing further oral damage. The inappropriate treatment may itself cause unnecessary injury and pain.

For example, if gum disease such as gingivitis is not treated, in the longer term it may turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease; all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated correctly, the teeth may eventually fall out.

Taking regular x-rays to identify problem areas and ensuring regular hygienist appointments are scheduled should help a dentist monitor gum disease, although the patient must be responsible for his own daily cleaning routine.

If you have been attending regular dental appointments with a dentist who failed to identify or properly treat the early stages of periodontal disease, and your health has worsened as a result, you may be able to bring a claim.

Inadequate dental technique

Dental procedures to improve or restore damaged teeth include bridges, crowns, veneers and implants, as well as tooth-coloured fillings. Correctly performed, treatments should last several years, but if a dentist does not use the right techniques they may quickly fail.

Before treatment patients should be fully assessed by their dentists to examine the extent of any problems and to establish suitability for any procedure. They should be advised of any risks as well as the benefits.

When restorative dental procedures fail, it can be traumatic and painful. Where procedures have to be repeated there may be financial and emotional cost to the patient.

You can claim for these losses and additional treatment costs as part of a dental negligence claim.

Careless treatment

A dentist may be careless and remove a healthy tooth by mistake, or damage teeth adjacent to the one being extracted. It is also not uncommon for too many teeth to be extracted.

In some cases, teeth are only partially extracted leaving some of the root sections within the jaw, leading to later complications.

Where a dentist fails to remove the whole root, or to fill the canal properly after removal in root canal treatment, a patient may be left with persistent toothache or more seriously, severe jaw infections.

How to claim for dentist or orthodontist negligence

Although dentists have a duty of care toward their patients, it does not mean that anyone whose dental treatment has failed, or who is pain may file a claim.

Proving that a dentist has acted negligently can be complex. Claimants must be able to demonstrate that the received dental treatment was the cause of their pain or injury.

Your solicitor will arrange for an independent medical exam to establish that the dentist or orthodontist's negligence was the cause of your injuries.

How much compensation can I claim for dental negligence?

The amount of money you could claim for your dental negligence will depend on:

  • the extent 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 dental negligence has affected your life. Your solicitor will take all of these effects into account to calculate the correct compensation award for you.

This calculation will factor in 'general damages' and 'special damages'.

General damages

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

Special damages are for financial losses and expenses you have incurred as a result of the accident.

What can I claim for after a dental negligence? (see list)

Examples of special damages (losses you can claim for) include:

  • Lost earnings (including future earnings)
  • Medical treatment costs
  • Physiotherapy
  • Travel costs
  • Costs of care
  • Costs of adapting your home or car

What is the average injury compensation for a dental negligence claim?

The Judicial College injury tables give a approximate idea of the ranges awarded for different injuries.

However, the money you would receive following a dental negligence will depend entirely on your specific circumstances.

Your dental negligence compensation will be calculated based on the unique impact your injuries have had on your life and your ability to work, and on the actual financial losses you have incurred as a result of your injuries.

Can I claim for prescription costs?

Special damages are awarded for costs or losses incurred as a result of the dental negligence injury. Damages can include loss of earnings, treatment cost and any other 'out-of-pocket' expenses such as prescriptions.

Calculate my dental negligence compensation

Calculating how much compensation you can claim for a dental negligence injury can be complicated.

Our injury compensation calculator tells you if you may have a claim, how much compensation you could claim, and what you can claim for.

Find out what your dental negligence claim could be worth now:

Calculate compensation

How long does a dental negligence claim take?

How long it can take to get compensation for dental negligence can vary considerably.

For example, a simple uncontested medical negligence claim could be settled in under 12 months. However, if the case goes to court or there is a serious or complex ongoing injury, a compensation claim can take considerably longer. Normally a dental negligence claim will take 12 to 24 months. For more information on how long your claim could take, see: How long will my claim take?

Caring and sensitive support

Your solicitor will handle your dental negligence claim from the initial consultation through to the financial settlement. In addition, your solicitor will work with other specialists to help you with:

  • Financial support: interim payments while you are unable to work.
  • Advice: on personal injury trusts, tax and welfare benefits.
  • Coordination: with rehabilitation providers and therapists.
  • Access: to treatment and therapies not always available on the NHS.

No win, no fee, no risk

Under a no win, no fee agreement (referred to as a 'Conditional Fee Agreement' or 'CFA') you can make a dental negligence claim without having to worry about upfront legal fees. If your dental negligence claim is unsuccessful you won't have to pay any money to your solicitor.

No win, no fee promise

If you have been injured and it wasn't your fault, our no win, no fee guarantee takes the risk out of making a dental negligence injury compensation claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my dental negligence 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 negligence claim?

If your dental negligence 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.

Is there a penalty if I withdraw?

Under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

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 negligence 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.

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Author:
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher