What is Classed as Dental Negligence?

scared woman at the dentist

Nobody enjoys visiting the dentist, that much is true. A dental appointment is something most of us would put off even when we suffer from the worst pain. A case of dental negligence can make this even worse, but what is classed as dental negligence? How do I know if I have a claim?

By and large dental visits pass off without too much drama. However occasionally mishaps occur and patients might have their worst fears realised. From receiving poor or incorrect dental treatment, to delayed diagnosis or even misdiagnosis, dental negligence covers a broad remit from a personal injury perspective.

Dental Negligence Explained

Dental malpractice can describe various counts of negligence, however generically refers to pain injury or trauma caused by a mistake or failure in the duty of care by dentists and dental practitioners.

Although some experiences of dental negligence can be relatively short-lived and don’t impact the victim’s future health and wellbeing, there are more severe episodes when dental negligence can significantly compromise long-term health and lifestyles.

Dental malpractice could, potentially be the catalyst for permanent nerve damage, enduring pain and in the more extreme cases, the onset and progression of mouth cancer. 

These are just some of the reasons why those responsible for dental malpractice must be held accountable for their negligent actions. Leading to the possibility of compensation for victims whose lives have been affected.

This isn’t just about the physical pain, suffering or trauma, but also amounts to psychological problems or financial implications, triggered by a dentist’s negligent work. And why dental compensation exists, to enable patients who suffered a breach in their dentist’s duty of care to make a claim.

What Types of Dental Negligence Are There?

Dental negligence falls under the same umbrella as clinical negligence, yet is focused on physical or psychological problems caused by specific dental work which is later proven to be a case of malpractice. Personal injury claims for dental negligence can be pursued after a victim experiences any one of the following:

  • Extractions gone wrong, including removal of wrong tooth, or where nerves and gums are damaged, root canal and wisdom teeth extractions.
  • Missed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, delayed or failed diagnosis (including oral cancer).
  • Failure to provide treatment plans, preventative or oral hygiene advice.
  • Carelessness, including failure to remove foreign object during dental treatment, or the poor hygienic maintenance of dental equipment.
  • Inadequate radiology or imaging.
  • Periodontist (gum disease), caused by failure of dentist to diagnose/treat the disease.
  • Wrongly fitted dental implants.
  • Dental cosmetic procedures which went wrong, including veneers, crowns, bridges and teeth whitening.
  • Failure to provide treatment for tooth decay.
  • Restorative dentistry issues.

Your dental practitioner is responsible for providing patients with information about any risks involved with the proposed treatment, as well as outlining any known side effects to be aware of which could cause health problems.  This is known as ‘informed consent’, and in situations where a patient didn’t receive this – and something subsequently goes wrong – then these present grounds for dental personal injury claims.

Are Dental Practices Insured Against Personal Injury Claims?

The General Dental Council advises that all dental practitioners here in the UK should have insurance in place to protect them against negligence claims, yet this isn’t backed up with the necessary legislation.

This means it is not a legal requirement for dentist’s therefore many aren’t insured, leaving patients to come to their own conclusions on whether or not they wish to take the risk before agreeing to treatment or procedures.

Our team at DIYPI are well versed in Dental Negligence claims and can provide you with free help and advice. Our friendly team can run your claim from start to end and provide you with access to the UK’s best solicitors. If you’ve been the victim of dental negligence, then be sure to get in touch with DIYPI today to find out more about how we can progress your claim and get the compensation you deserve.

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