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The short answer:

Dental Negligence is when the treatment you receive from a dentist falls below a reasonable standard (being the standard expected of a reasonably competent dentist), resulting in an avoidable injury or loss to you.

Whatever your reason for visiting the dentist, whether it be a routine check-up or more complex dental treatment, you are entitled to expect that the treatment will be carried out correctly and to a reasonable standard.

The detailed answer:

For dental treatment to be ‘negligent’ it must be shown that the treatment was performed to a substandard level of care and that this caused an avoidable injury or loss to the patient. Typically, expert opinion is obtained from an independent senior dentist, who will say whether the treatment provided was negligent or not, and what the impact of the negligent treatment has been.

Some of the most common types of dental negligence are as follows:

Dental NegligenceDescription
Delayed diagnosisYour dentist may be negligent for failing to diagnose and treat decay at an early and this may lead to avoidable tooth loss and/or remedial treatment. More seriously, a failure to diagnose oral cancer at an early stage may also be negligent.
Substandard treatmentYour dentist may be negligent for providing treatment to a poor standard leading to avoidable pain and suffering, tooth loss and/or more extensive treatment than would otherwise be the case. This would include a failure to remove all decay prior to placing a filling, substandard
root canal treatment, substandard orthodontic treatment, etc.
Incorrect treatmentYour dentist may be negligent for providing unnecessary or incorrect treatment, such as removing the wrong tooth or using excessive force and causing unnecessary injury. This would also include placing dental implants in a patient who is not a suitable candidate.
MisdiagnosisYour dentist may be negligent if they misdiagnose a dental problem and this leads to unnecessary treatment and/or avoidable complications.
Nerve damageYour dentist may be negligent if they cause nerve damage during a procedure. Nerve damage can occur in many scenarios including a routine extraction of during the placement of a dental implant.
Mismanagement of gum diseaseYour dentist may be negligent for failing to diagnose and treat advancing periodontal (gum) disease, leading to tooth loss and/or more extensive treatment than would otherwise be the case.

You may attend the dentist for a wide variety of reasons and the treatment provided can be equally wide ranging; from a simple filling to complex restorative treatment such as an implant placement. Whatever the treatment, your dentist must ensure that it is carried out to a reasonable standard.

Dental Negligence can occur in relation to-

  1. Tooth extractions
  2. Placement of a filling
  3. Fitting of a crown
  4. Fitting of veneers
  5. Root canal treatment
  6. Fitting of braces/Invisalign
  7. Placement of dental implants
  8. Fitting of bridgework
  9. Fitting of dentures (false teeth)
  10. Management of periodontal (‘gum’) disease

For more information on Dental Negligence compensation, please visit our blog post, ‘How much compensation can I claim for Dental Negligence?’.

If you have suffered due to negligent dental treatment and you would like a free consultation to discuss your options, please call Aston Knight Solicitors today on 0161 399 1231 or click the ‘Contact’ button above to submit an online enquiry and one of our dedicated Solicitors will contact you to discuss your claim further.

Andrew Thompson (Senior Solicitor)

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