Although no one would generally describe a trip to the dentist as a pleasant experience, you can typically expect that you will be treated with the utmost care and consideration as a patient during your appointment.
While rare, instances unfortunately can occur where you are given the wrong treatment or one that is painful and/or avoidable, resulting in suffering that can persist to affect you well after your visit.
What is Dental Negligence?
Similar to medical negligence, dental negligence is when the treatment you have received from your dentist has caused you unnecessary discomfort, pain, injury, or disfigurement, and can affect your teeth, gums, nerves, tongue, or face.
Cosmetic dental work, such as teeth whitening or filler treatments, can also lead to injury if not performed in the appropriate way.
Can I make a dental negligence claim?
If you believe that the work performed on you by a dentist was sub-standard and has led to your pain or suffering, you are entitled to make a dental negligence claim. This standard applies regardless of if you are a private or public patient.
If it is your child that has suffered such injury, you are also entitled to bring a claim on their behalf for dental negligence.
What are the time limits for dental negligence claims?
As with medical negligence claims, the time limit for launching a claim for dental negligence is two years following the date of the incident in question. This two-year period commences from the date you knew, or should have known, that the injury occurred. While this will often be the date of the incident itself, the symptoms of an injury may not start to present until some time after the initial event.
In the case of minors seeking compensation, a compensation claim for dental negligence may be made on their behalf by a parent or guardian up until their 18th birthday. However, if the minor has reached the age of 18 and a claim still has not been made for their injury, then they must do so within the two intervening years leading up to their 20th birthday.
How do I make a compensation claim for dental negligence?
When/if you have made the decision to seek compensation for your pain, suffering, or injury as the result of dental negligence, it is strongly advised that you contact a solicitor as soon as you feel able to do so, who will ensure that no vital steps are missed during the process.
Once you have contacted a solicitor, they will assist you in compiling all relevant dental/medical information and records in relation to treatment/procedure that has caused your suffering. This information will then be provided to an independent medical expert who will determine if the original attending dental professional provided you with inadequate care, if the escalation in your symptoms/illness could have been avoided, and whether they are potentially guilty of dental negligence.
If the medical expert determines that there was a breach in the duty of care towards you, your solicitor will then draft a Letter of Claim to the dentist that outlines the nature of your case and an invite them to settle. While the next steps in the process will be determined by the specifics of your case, you can rest assured that your solicitor will be there to guide you through the intricacies and procedures of your dental negligence compensation claim when moving forward.
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.*