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Advice On Dental Negligence Claims And Suing A Dentist

By Cat Way. Last Updated 4th April 2024. 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 healthcare professionals. These mistakes may lead to injury. When it does, then the victim of their negligence may be entitled to dental compensation.

As we’ll see below, you could sue a negligent dentist for various reasons, including poorly executed surgical procedures, inaccurate diagnosis of a condition, and wrong medication prescription. We also look at some other reasons why suing a dentist could be a justified course of action.

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

You can also watch our video which explains the dental negligence claims process in detail:

Contact Our Team

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. 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.

Read on to learn more about how to claim for dental negligence.

Browse Our Guide

  1. Eligibility Criteria For Dentist Negligent Claims
  2. Examples Of Dentist Negligence You Could Claim Compensation For
  3. Should I Make A Complaint To My Dentist?
  4. What Evidence Do I Need To Sue A Dentist?
  5. Compensation Payouts For Dental Negligence
  6. Make No Win No Fee Dental Negligence Claims

Eligibility Criteria For Dentist Negligent Claims

Meeting the eligibility criteria is a crucial factor to consider ahead of beginning the dentist negligence claims process. It’s worth noting that it is not possible to claim compensation simply because you are in pain following a procedure. You will need to determine whether the harm you experienced could have been prevented had your dentist provided the correct standard of care.

What Is A Duty Of Care?

Dentists have a duty to provide the correct standard of care. If this duty is breached because they provide you with substandard care, and you suffer unnecessary or avoidable harm, you may have grounds to make a dental negligence claim.

Another important element when pursuing an dental negligence claim is ensuring that you take action within the time limit. Continue reading to find out what limitations may apply to your case. Alternatively, pop up to our advisors using our free live chat service. They may be able to connect you with a dental negligence solicitor from our panel.

Is There A Time Limit For Suing A Dentist?

When it comes to suing a dentist, understanding the time limits can be very important.

You must start your claim for dental negligence typically within 3 years from the date of the incident. This is set by the Limitation Act 1980.

However, you can in some medical negligence claims argue that the time limit begins to run from the “date of knowledge”. This 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 actions of the negligent dentist. 

However, the claim time limit can be suspended in exceptional circumstances. These include:

  • Dental negligence claims cannot be started by those under the age of 18. A litigation friend can start a claim for dental negligence on the claimant’s behalf while the time limit is suspended. However, if a claim is not started, the injured party will have three years from the date of their 18th birthday to start their claim.
  • Those who lack the mental capacity to claim for dental negligence will see the time limit suspended indefinitely. Dentist negligence claims can be started at any point by a litigation friend. However, should a claimant regain their capacity and a claim has not been started on their behalf, they will have three years from the date of regaining the capacity to start a claim.

Call our advisors to discuss the personal injury claim time limit.

Examples Of Dentist Negligence You Could Claim Compensation For

As previously mentioned, in order to make a successful claim, you will need to have suffered unnecessary harm after dentist breached their duty of care. If you are unsure what might constitute dental malpractice, we’ve included some examples of potential dental negligence cases in the UK below. You may be able to claim if:

  • A dentist took the wrong tooth out
  • Clear signs of gum disease are not identified by a dentist
  • The misdiagnosis of a condition such as a dental abscess 
  • When the dentist was carrying out root canal work, they accidentally damaged the nerves affecting one side of the face, which caused paralysis 
  • Not obtaining consent before providing treatment
  • Fractures of the jaw
  • Infections caused by dental work
  • The psychological trauma caused by the ordeal.

Have you suffered harm that was otherwise avoidable as a result of dental negligence? Call our advisors today and through a free no obligation case assessment they can check the eligibility of your claim against a dentist. If you have a valid dental negligence claim one of our specialist solicitors could agree to work on your case under a No Win No Fee arrangement. 

A young girl winces in pain as a dentist treats her

Should I Make A Complaint To My Dentist?

If you feel like you’ve received poor treatment fromyour enist, you’re well within your rights to make a complaint.

Making a complaint brings with it a number of benefits. First, you can highlight poor care which can be investigated and addressed. This may prevent other patients from suffering the same problems.

Second, if you choose to make a compensation claim, the fact you have lodged a complaint can help support your case. The outcome of the complaint can also be important in proving negligence

How To Make A Complaint To Your Dentist

So now you know why it’s important to raise a complaint, let’s look at how to do it.

  1. The first step is to contact your dentist’s office. They should have a complaints procedure in place. When giving your complaint, make sure you provide as much information as possible.
  2. Your dentist should provide a response to your request within the time specified.

If you’re unsatisfied with the response given, you could make a complaint to the General Dental Council. This is the governing body of dentists in the country. You can only raise complaints about certain issues, such as serious and consistent errors in caring for patients, significant breaches of confidentiality, and a failure to respond to a patient’s needs.

It can take up to 18 months for the Council to complete an investigation. However, if found in the wrong, they can be removed off the register of dentists.

What Evidence Do I Need To Sue A Dentist?

You might be wondering if you need evidence to make a dental negligence claim. Evidence is crucial, as it can help illustrate who owed you a duty of care, how this duty was breached, and how it has affected you. Some examples of evidence that you could use to prove dental negligence include:

  • Dental records: Dental and medical records can help illustrate how you have been harmed, as well as the treatment you will need in the future. These could include test results, dental X-rays, and scans.
  • Witness statements: Taking down the contact details of any witnesses, such as a family member or a chaperone present at your appointment, means that their statement can be taken later.
  • A symptoms diary: Keeping a symptoms diary can help demonstrate the harm you’ve undergone. For example, if you are having trouble eating or drinking after a dentist removed the wrong tooth or teeth, this could be recorded in your diary. 

To learn more about how to sue a dentist, keep reading. Or, contact our team of advisors to get more information on claiming dental negligence payouts in the UK.

Compensation Payouts For Dental Negligence

All successful dental negligence claims will result in general damages. This is one of the two heads of claim that you could receive, and covers the pain and suffering that you endured as a result of your dentist’s negligent actions.

Those who value this head of your claim might refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) for help. The JCG contains a list of different injuries, both mental and physical, alongside different guideline compensation brackets.

In the table below, you can find some examples of these compensation brackets. Please note that these are only guideline amounts and that the first entry has not been taken from the JCG.

Multiple Serious Injuries + Special DamagesA combination of multiple serious injuries along with considerable financial losses, such as lost earnings and pension contributions.Up to £50,000+
Fractures of Jaws (i)Prolonged treatment is required due to serious multiple fractures in the jaw. These will result in permanent consequences such as severe pain with restricted eating.£30,490 to £45,540
Fractures of Jaws (ii)Difficulty opening the mouth an eating due to a serious fracture.£17,960 to £30,490
Fractures of Jaws (iii)A full recovery following a simple fracture that only required immobilisation.£6,460 to £8,730
Damage to TeethChronic, significant tooth pain, potentially caused by an untreated abscess, that lasts for years.Up to £38,130
Damage to Teeth (i)Several front teeth have been seriously damaged or lost.£8,730 to £11,410
Damage to Teeth (ii)Two front teeth have been lost or seriously damaged.£4,350 to £7,630
Damage to Teeth (iii)One front tooth have been seriously damaged or lost.£2,200 to £3,950
Damage to Teeth (iv)Compensation is awarded is based on how many back teeth have been lost or damaged.£1,090 to £1,710
Facial Disfigurement - Less Significant ScarringA number of small scars, or just one scar that doesn't majorly affect the person's appearance.£3,950 to £13,740
Facial Disfigurement - Trivial ScarringThere is only a minor effect.£1,710 to £3,530

Can You Claim For Financial Losses?

Special damages are the second head of claim that you could pursue following negligence treatment. This head of your dental compensation claim covers the financial losses you experience as a result of the negligent treatment. For example, this could include the cost of:

  • Lost earnings after taking time off work to recover.
  • Childcare.
  • Housekeeping, or help with cooking and cleaning.
  • Travel.
  • Prescriptions and medical bills.

In order to claim under this heading, you need to gather evidence to support your losses. This could include bills, receipts, invoices, or bank statements. To learn more about the dental negligence claims process, contact our team of helpful advisors today. Or, for more information on how to make a dental negligence claim, read on.

A man having his teeth checked at the dentist

Make A No Win No Fee Dental Negligence Claims

If you’ve suffered harm due to a botched tooth extraction, a bad filling, or another kind of dental negligence, our solicitors are here to help. If one of them agrees to take on your claim, they may offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

When working with a No Win No Fee solicitor, you aren’t required to pay any upfront or ongoing fees for their work. Additionally, if your claim fails, you aren’t required to pay your solicitor for their services.

You will pay a success fee to your solicitor if your claim is successful. This success fee is a legally-capped percentage deducted from your compensation award.

Contact Our Team

Contact our advisors today to find out if you could sue a dentist for negligence with the help of one of our solicitors. A member of our team can evaluate your claim for free, and if it’s valid, they may connect you with one of our solicitors. To get in touch:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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

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.

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 much compensation for a wrong tooth extraction?

You could claim dental compensation If your dentist pulled the wrong tooth. However, you may be wondering how much compensation for wrong tooth extraction you could receive.

The value of any personal injury claim depends on a variety of factors. For instance, some injuries may cause a greater level of pain and suffering than others. In the context of dental claims, the deciding factor could be something such how many teeth were removed, or which teeth in particular.

As well as physical discomfort, the effect on a claimant’s mental health is also accounted for when dental compensation is being calculated. Additionally, certain factors such as a claimant’s line of work may be considered. For example, they be an actor or model. Unnecessary or incorrect tooth extraction could mean they are then unable to work in the field any longer, leading to a loss of earnings.

To find out more, please get in touch with our advisors.

What Is The Process Like For Suing A Dentist?

When it comes to suing a dentist, the claims process can be relatively straightforward.

If you’re organised and retain evidence, you simply need to speak with a solicitor who specialises in this kind of work, like ourselves. They’ll then present the claim to the defendant and try to negotiate a settlement.

Through the dental negligence claims process, your solicitor should inform you of developments and take your instructions on what you’d like to do, such as when an offer of settlement is received.

You will likely have to attend an appointment with a medical expert, arranged by your solicitor at a time of your choosing. This is so you can obtain evidence to help prove that the dentist was in fact negligent.

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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