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Dental Negligence Claims – How Much Can I Get?

By Max Mitrovib. Last updated 6th June 2022. Dental negligence claims are often warranted after you experience negligent incidents like the removal of the wrong tooth. Such occurrences can cause significant pain and suffering and may leave lasting injuries.

Medical negligence is a term used to describe mistakes or mishaps made by health care professionals, leading to an injury for their patients, and this can also apply to dentists. When it does, then the victim of their negligence may be entitled to dental compensation.

Dental negligence claims can be pursued for various reasons, including poorly executed surgical procedures, inaccurate diagnosis of a condition, and wrong medication prescription. This is a fundamental definition, and this page will try to expand on this to impart a better understanding of your rights if you have been a victim of medical negligence from your dentist.

If you have been the victim of negligence during dental treatment, having professional legal advice and representation can help give you the best chance of making a successful claim. And this is where we can help.

Our team of dental negligence solicitors work on a No Win No Fee basis, meaning you can access the legal advice and support you need without having to break the bank. And we can offer you support today, without any obligation on your part to proceed with your personal injury claim. Read on to find how to claim for dental negligence.

Alternatively, if you’d like to know more about dental negligence payouts in the UK or to see if you can claim, you can contact us directly. You can:

  • Call 0800 073 8804
  • Write to us about your claim online.
  • Chat with our clinical negligence advisers now by using our live chat in the bottom right.

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A Guide to Dental Negligence Claims

Dental negligence claims for compensation

Dental negligence compensation

Every dental practitioner is expected to keep their patients’ health and well-being at the forefront of everything they do. And in almost every case, this is true. Unfortunately, however, from time to time, something goes wrong, and a mistake is made. And that could potentially open the door for a claim.

Again, in most cases, these mistakes are trivial, and no lasting harm is done. But in a handful of cases each year in the UK, a dentist or other medical staff working in the dental sector makes a mistake that leads to harm to their patient. And in these cases, dental compensation claims are possible.

Within this guide, you will find all of the information you will need to educate yourself about the process of claiming compensation for negligence.

This guide explains just what dental negligence claims are and the different types of negligence that can occur. It will walk you through the things you need to do before making your compensation claim. It will also tell you how to actually start your claim for damages against a dentist or dental clinic and try to give a rough indication of the amount of compensation that common injuries could be worth.

If you need any further information on claiming dental negligence compensation or want to get the answers to more specific questions, please use the contact information at the top or bottom of this guide to contact us. They can also put you through to one of our specialised dental negligence solicitors who could help you receive compensation.

When could I make a dental negligence claim?

You can make such a claim in any scenario where you feel that a dentist has acted with negligence. In order to seek dental compensation, you would need evidence proving that your injury was caused by negligence.

Furthermore, in most cases, you would also need to start your claim within the 3-year time limit. This time limit is the same regardless of whether you’ve experienced dental negligence from the NHS or a private healthcare provider.

What is a Dental Negligence Claim?

Dental negligence occurs when a medical practitioner working in the dental sector causes harm to a patient through a mishap or mistake. This can be the dentist themselves or any nursing and care staff involved in the overall dental care process. So, while you may be looking into suing a dentist surgery, the negligence might have resulted from the actions of another member of staff.

Although negligence in dental treatments is rare, it does occur, and the damage caused to a patient can be both severe and long-lasting. Furthermore, many of the injuries caused by dental negligence can lead to permanent facial disfigurement and scarring. For this reason, negligence cases relating to dental care, as with any form of medical negligence case, are taken very seriously. As a result, it could see the dental practitioner being barred from their chosen career.

To find out more about suing a dentist, contact our team today on the number at the top of this page.

What is meant by “date of knowledge” in medical negligence claims?

The “date of knowledge” in medical negligence claims refers to the point when you knew or should have known that your injury was significant and that it could be attributed, wholly or partially, to the accident that your dental compensation claim is based on. 

To learn more about how this relates to dental negligence payouts in the UK, please contact our team for free legal advice today.

Is Dental Negligence Common?

The NHS puts out an annual report to show how many claims of negligence they process each year. Whilst the figures do not state how much of the total was due to dental negligence claims specifically, they do give an idea of how often negligence can occur in both medical and dental settings.

Below, you’ll see how these payments were divided up. As you can see, the total for 2020/21 across all schemes comes to a total of over £2 billion.

Dental negligence statistics graph

Dental negligence statistics graph

What Different Types of Causes Can Lead to You Suing A Dentist?

Depending upon the injury the patient has received and how that injury was caused, dental negligence will fit into one of the categories below:

  • Badly executed surgical procedureswhenever a dentist performs a surgical procedure on a patient, from filling a cavity to fitting a full set of implants, if something goes wrong causing an injury to the patient, like a dentist extracting the wrong tooth or causing nerve damage, then there is a valid reason to claim compensation.
  • Badly managed anaesthesiawhen a surgical procedure requires the administration of either local or general anaesthetic, if the application of that anaesthetic causes an injury or other health problem for the patient, a valid reason to make a compensation claim will exist.
  • Misdiagnosis of a dental conditionpossibly the least common form of dental negligence. When a dentist misdiagnoses a condition, for example, gum disease or oral cancer, and applies the wrong treatment, which leads to injury or harm to the patient. In these cases, a valid reason to claim compensation will exist.
  • Inadequate patient careeither during a dental procedure or after a dental procedure when the patient is recovering. If undue care is taken to ensure the patient’s well-being or negligent treatment is administered or recommended leading to injury or harm, a valid reason to claim compensation will exist.

Any of these incidents could serve as the justification for pursuing dental claims.

Of course, some cases do fall outside of this framework. A quick chat with our team of friendly advisers will clarify any unanswered questions you may have about seeking dental compensation. They’re available 24/7 and can give you all the free legal advice you need.

Are There Different Types of Dental Negligence Claims?

When it comes to claiming negligence against a dentist, there are several ways a dental compensation claim or dental negligence claims can be pursued. Depending on the way that an injury to a patient has been caused and the circumstances that lead to the injury occurring, a dental practitioner would be guilty of one of the following types of negligence:

  • Contributory negligencein these cases, both the dental practitioner and the person suffering the injury share some portion of the blame. The blame will be apportioned appropriately between the dentist and the victim of the injury.
  • Vicarious liabilityin this type of case, a third party is being apportioned part of the blame for the injury caused to the patient. For example, this could be the supplier of a particular piece of medical equipment contributing to the mistake that caused the damage. Or it could be a claim against the company that employs the dentist, which has failed to meet statutory health care regulations, leading directly to the patient being injured.
  • Gross negligence –  this is the most serious and the least common type of negligence claim against a dental practitioner. A gross negligence case is pursued when the dental professional has blatantly disregarded their patient’s health and well-being. There are many ways that this can occur, such as being under the influence of alcohol or drugs whilst performing a surgical procedure or purposefully causing harm to a patient in anger.

Almost every claim for compensation based on dental negligence will fit into one of these negligence categories. In certain cases, other considerations may apply.

What to Do If You Have Been a Victim of Dental Negligence

dental negligence claims

Dental negligence claims

If you believe that you may have a valid reason to claim dental negligence compensation, then there are certain things you can do right now to help you prepare.

As with any legal proceedings that require adjudication, evidence will need to be presented by both sides to either prove or disprove the claim. So preparation is essential here. The better prepared your solicitor is to represent you, the better chance you have of successfully being awarded damages. Below is some advice regarding the things you can do to prepare for your claim before contacting a solicitor.

  • Have your injury documented this means visiting a doctor or a hospital to have the wound treated. Ensure that you ask the doctor treating you to note their opinion on how well the injury will heal and how long it is likely to take.
  • Collect necessary informationfind out the names of any dental staff that assisted the dentist if you can. Also, find out the company’s name that owns the dental clinic if it is a private practice or a cosmetic dentistry clinic.
  • Record the injury’s financial impact if you have had to miss work and lost income, spent money on medication, or had to take unexpected journeys which you have paid for out of your own pocket, then write all of these down. Your solicitor will help you claim them back as part of your dental compensation claim.
  • Contact a dental negligence solicitorat this stage, you have all the facts of your claim straight and are ready to brief a solicitor accurately.

If you choose to use our dental negligence solicitors, we can arrange for a medical examination to be carried out locally to you. The medical expert will examine your injuries, assess the extent of your suffering, and determine a recovery period. This will then be used to evidence your dental claim.

How to Begin a Dental Negligence Claim

If you are ready to begin your claim for dental negligence compensation, you can use the contact details at the top or bottom of this guide to get in touch with us. We will then offer you a completely free legal consultation session. During this session, we will attempt to capture all of the pertinent facts about your injury.

We will use the facts we capture to decide whether you have a good chance of claiming damages following a case of dental negligence. If we think the prospect of claiming compensation is high, we will advise you on what we think you need to do next.

Most people who contact us have a valid reason to make compensation dental negligence claims. Therefore, we will offer to represent them on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that, when using our dental negligence solicitors, you would only have to pay their legal fees if you successfully receive compensation.

Duty Of Care For Medical Professionals

All medical professionals, including dentists, owe their patients the correct standard of care. If the care they provide falls below the expected standard causing a patient further or avoidable harm, negligence may have occurred.

However, when determining whether a dental professional was negligent, medical evidence will be considered alongside the Bolam test.

The test involves a team of medical professionals assessing your case to determine whether the correct care was given. The medical professionals who conduct the assessment are trained in a relevant area of medicine.

For example, if a dentist took out the wrong tooth, they will look at whether the incident occurred because the dentist provided an inadequate level of care.

If you experienced a wrong-site procedure, call our team to discuss your rights to seek dental compensation.

What can be Claimed for Due to Dental Negligence?

Claiming compensation for dental negligence involves calculating tangible and intangible costs and claiming damages to meet these costs. Some expenses are simple to calculate, such as any money spent on medical fees. Others are not so straightforward. For example, how does one put a value on pain and suffering? Luckily, there are judicial guidelines that already provide a framework for attributing value to the discomfort caused by an injury. Most dental claims for negligence in dental treatment will comprise of one or more of these types of damages:

  • Special damagesin this category, we include all of the non-physical losses that a case of dental negligence has caused. This can consist of an extensive range of causes. For example, if you were forced to cancel a vacation due to the injury, you would claim compensation for this under special damages.
  • General damagesin this category, we include all of the physical aspects of the injury. Pain, suffering, loss of mobility and psychological trauma is the most common of these.
  • Care costsif you are forced to bring in help to assist you in your daily life due to the injury, or if you have had to be placed into full-time care in an institution, then this can be claimed for.
  • Loss of earnings and future earningsif you needed to miss work due to your injury, and thus did not receive your full wage/salary, then you can claim this as part of your dental negligence compensation. Additionally, if the injury is likely to negatively affect your long-term earning potential, this future loss can also be claimed.
  • Medical expensesany out of pocket expenses that have been paid for both immediate and ongoing treatment of the injury you are claiming compensation for.
  • Travel costsany out of pocket expenses that have been incurred due to having to travel for anything related to the injury itself (outpatient care, for example) or the compensation case (such as visiting your solicitor) can be claimed back.

To learn what else can be factored into your compensation claim when suing a dentist, give our team a call on the number at the top of this page.

How Much Compensation For a Wrong Tooth Extraction in 2022?

The amount of compensation you could receive from dental negligence claims are based on many different factors. If a dentist pulled the wrong tooth, the settlement amount you could receive will be based on aspects including:

  • The extent of the injury
  • The tooth or teeth that were wrongly extracted. Different compensation awards are provided partly based on the type of tooth that was involved.
  • To what degree the injury has negatively impacted you.

If you hire a solicitor, they can provide you with a valuation of your potential compensation for a wrong tooth extraction. They do this by referring to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The figures below are taken from the latest guidelines, published in April 2022. By analysing previous payouts, they’ve been able to provide compensation brackets that can give you a clearer idea of what you could receive.

Please bear in mind that the figures below only relate to compensation awards in England and Wales. Furthermore, it’s important to note that they aren’t guarantees – every claim is unique so, if your claim is successful, the amount received may differ to what is depicted below.

Psychiatric harmSevere£54,830 to £115,730Severe and debilitating symptoms which may never resolve, even with therapy.
Psychiatric harmLess Severe£1,540 to £5,860Minor symptoms with a slight disability. However, a full recovery will be made in a short period of time.
Illness caused by a medication errorSevere£38,430 to £52,500Severe illness requiring hospital admission, with some long-term problems too.
Illness caused by a medication errorModerate £3,950 to £9,540A more serious illness that may require a few days in the hospital to recover from.
Illness caused by a medication errorMinorUp to £3,950Minor illness, such as diarrhoea and cramps which may last some weeks.
Facial scarring Very Severe£29,780 to £97,330Generally impacting younger people under 30, very severe facial scarring may cause disfigurement of the face as well as disabling psychological problems for a long period.
Facial scarring Trivial£1,710 to £3,530Minor scars that will heal and disappear with time.
Jaw injuryMinor to severe£6,460 to £45,540From simple fractures, through to irreparable bones loss through badly performed surgical procedures.
Damaged teethSevereUp to £38,130Significant and chronic pain perhaps lasting years, with deterioration in the teeth as a result.
Damaged teethModerate£4,350 to £7,630Loss of or serious damage to several front teeth.
Damaged teethMinor£1,090 to £1,710Damage to a single tooth, or several. This can be short-term damage that can be corrected, all the way through to permanent complete loss of all teeth.
Cheekbone InjuryMinor to severe£2,990 to £15,780From simple fractures, through to irreparable bones loss through badly performed surgical procedures.

Dental Negligence Payouts In The UK For 2022

The figures found in the table above relate to the general damages head of claim. This head of claim awards compensation based on the level of pain and suffering your injury causes you. However, some dental negligence payouts in the UK can include other amounts too. They’re known as special damages.

Special damages are awarded in line with any financial impact your injuries have had on you. Here are some examples:

  • Loss of earnings – To give an example, if a dentist has extracted the wrong tooth, then this could affect certain careers. For instance, you may be a model or actress that requires a perfect smile for your job. In these cases, your income could be affected.
  • Medical/dental costs – You may require additional procedures to rectify the damage caused by the negligence. You could be reimbursed for these costs.
  • Other expenses – There may be certain purchases you can no longer make use of due to your injuries. For instance, you may have paid for a food and wine tour that you can no longer attend due to your tooth injury.

If you need more information, get in touch today. Our advisors are here and ready to assist you.

How Long Do Dental Negligence Claims Take?

If the defendant admits liability right away, you may find that a dental negligence claim can take around 12 months or less to resolve. However, if the defendant disputes or denies liability, the claim could take 18 months or longer.

Each case is unique. Any form of medical negligence has very serious consequences on the person being accused. In extreme cases, they can be struck off from working within their chosen medical field, effectively ending their career.

For this reason, dental negligence claims can often take a lot longer than cases for similar injuries caused by simple accidents.

NHS Dental Negligence Compensation Claims

Claims for dental negligence against the National Health Service (NHS) can be complicated. Navigating the dental claims process for suing a government body for compensation is very difficult. If you’re wanting to claim for dental negligence, our experienced solicitors could help you.

We have lots of experience in suing various government-operated bodies, including the NHS, and we know how to cut through the red tape and bureaucracy. We can help expedite your claim for medical negligence against an NHS dentist as quickly as possible.

No Win No Fee Dental Negligence Claims

Some people may be apprehensive about making a claim due to financial issues. However, they needn’t worry. All of our lawyers work with their clients under a No Win No Fee arrangement. What this basically means is that you will not need to cover your lawyer’s legal costs unless they are successful in helping you receive dental compensation.

If your claim is unsuccessful, then you won’t owe them a penny. Following a successful claim, your lawyer’s fees are taken from your settlement amount before it’s awarded to you. The amount they take is only a small percentage, so the majority of your compensation is protected by law.

We do not recommend that you make a claim without legal assistance, and a No Win No Fee deal in place. Without an arrangement such as this, you could be left with expensive legal bills to pay even in the event of an unsuccessful claim.

Our top tips on suing a dentist if you have suffered harm and have an eligible dental negligence claim are as follows:

Top Tips On Suing A Dentist

    • Get legal advice: while there is no legal requirement for you to use solicitors while making a claim, it may be a very effective way to get the most out of dental negligence claims. Teeth injuries can be more noticeable and may sometimes lead to facial cosmetic deformities. Solicitors who are specialists in this field can be the best ones to support you in a claim for dental negligence compensation. At Legal Expert, our solicitors work to get the maximum dental negligence payouts they can. No Win No Fee agreements remove the financial barrier to using the services of a solicitor since you will not pay any upfront or ongoing costs. Your solicitor would only receive a fee, a small percentage of your payout, if your claim is successful.
    • Claim within the time limit: Generally, you may have 3 years to sue the dentist from the date of dental negligence. This is the general time limit within which you can start a claim. However, if you did not notice the effects of the negligent act until much later, you could argue that the time limit should begin from your date of knowledge.
    • Keep records of expenses:  Costs incurred as a direct result of the injury such as medical and prescription receipts need to be preserved. Other non-medical costs need to be documented and can take the form of receipts for travel costs or other receipts. If you do not keep records of financial losses, you may not be able to recover the costs back. 

Dentists are technically not called doctors, but you can get more tips from our guide on learning how to report a negligent doctor. If your dental damage happened during cosmetic surgery, you can also get more tips from cosmetic surgery claims.

Why Choose Us as Your Claims Service for a dental negligence Claim?

Dental negligence claims, like any medical negligence cases, are a serious legal matter. They are far less likely to be settled without going to court, and in the most severe cases, the impact upon the liable party is extreme if they are found to be at fault.

Therefore, you need the best legal help possible to execute a dental negligence compensation claim when suing a dentist, and this is where we come in. We have years of experience in pursuing damages for clients who have been a victim of medical negligence.

For more information on dental negligence payouts in the UK, see below for how you can get in touch. An advisor can provide you with an estimate of how much your claim is worth.

Call for Free Advice On Dental Negligence Claims

Have you been the victim of dental negligence? Are you ready to begin making a compensation claim for it? Or maybe you need an expert opinion on whether your claim is viable?

If you need some free help and advice about dental negligence claims, we are more than happy to assist you. You can either use the online contact form on this website, or for a more immediate response, use the webchat function, or call us directly on 0800 073 8804. There is no obligation to use our service after giving you some advice, and the initial session is always completely free.

Helpful Links

Thank you for reading our guide to claiming dental negligence compensation. Below, we’ve included links to some other resources you may find useful if you’re making a different claim to dental negligence claims.

Further Medical Negligence Guides

Dental Negligence Claims FAQs

This section includes answers to questions we’re commonly asked about dental negligence compensation and medical negligence compensation claims.

Can I sue my dentist for negligence?

If you can prove that your dentist breached their duty of care, then you may be able to make a medical negligence claim against them or the organisation that employs them.

Is it hard to sue a dentist?

Suing a dentist can be tricky—clear evidence will be required to prove that they made an error that led to you suffering harm. Without such evidence, you may find it hard to claim successfully.

How long do I have to sue a dentist for negligence?

You have 3 years from the date of the negligent act to sue a dentist. However, if the problems don’t become apparent until later, you can also argue that the 3 year period begins from the date you obtained knowledge that you suffered harm due to dental negligence.

What happens if a dentist messed up?

If you can prove that your dentist failed to provide you with the care expected of them, then you could pursue a claim for dental negligence compensation.

How can a dentist be negligent?

A dentist can be negligent in various ways, such as carrying out surgical errors, misdiagnosing conditions or giving you the wrong medication. The severity of the mistake and your subsequent injuries could affect the amount of dental compensation you could receive.

When can I begin my claim?

You can contact us as soon as you’re ready to pursue a dental compensation claim.

What is dental malpractice?

Dental negligence involves a situation where your dentist has caused you further or avoidable harm after providing the incorrect standard of care. There are many different forms of dental negligence that could occur so if you’re unsure whether you’re eligible to claim. Please get in touch on the number above.

Can I sue a dentist for negligence?

If you have evidence to prove that you sustained additional harm or harm that could have been avoided due to a dentist acting negligently, you may be eligible to seek compensation. You must be able to show that the harm you sustained was caused by a dentist providing you with a level of care that fell below a standard that could be reasonably expected.

If you hold a valid claim, dental negligence solicitors could help you take steps to seek the compensation you deserve.

How long does a dental negligence claim take?

As per the Limitation Act 1980, there is a three-year time limit to putting forward your dental negligence claim. This might start either from the date the incident took place or the date you became aware that a medical professional’s negligence caused or contributed to the harm you sustained.

There are exceptions to the general time limit though. For more information, please call our team using the number above.

Thank you for reading our guide to dental negligence claims, including the steps you can take when suing a dentist. Contact us using the above details if you have further questions about dental negligence payouts in the UK or if you have additional queries about using our dental negligence solicitors.

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