This occurs when a dentist doesn’t notice a problem with your teeth, gums or any other oral problem. This then ultimately leads to the condition worsening and possibly causing further problems for you. Quite a few medical negligence cases have arisen from a dentist failing to correctly diagnose an oral problem, including cancer or any other similarly serious ailment.
This differs slightly from a missed diagnosis in that instead of the dentist failing to spot an ongoing problem, he or she simply hasn’t acted sufficiently to cure it. So this can be a misjudgement of the true nature of what’s going wrong inside your mouth, or indeed how severe the problem might actually be. Or alternatively, having diagnosed the problem, the treatment your dentist has devised for it is not appropriate or suitable. False diagnoses can often lead to a worsening of the problem, making it more difficult to treat further down the road.
Delayed Referral when Diagnosed with a Serious Condition
In order to effectively treat any disease, the trick is to catch it early. Oral problems are no different. A tooth issue can increase an infection and then turn into something much more serious if left untreated. That’s why it’s very important that there are no delays once something has been identified.
Careless Dental Work
This is fairly self-explanatory – work carried out on you without proper care and attention, resulting in physical suffering on your part either during or after treatment. It has been known for dentists to extract the wrong tooth or fit crowns in the wrong way. The umbrella term of careless dental work can also refer to the placing of dental implements in an inappropriate or unsafe place which leads to you – the patient – being harmed. Sounds implausible perhaps, but it has been known to happen.
Poor Standards of Hygiene
The vast majority of dentists are all extremely diligent about using clean, sterile equipment. Unfortunately, there is a tiny percentage for whom this does not appear to be a major priority.
A whole host of problems can be associated with the use of anaesthesia, most of them very serious. These include:
- Administering improper dosages (either too much or too little)
- Lack of sufficient oxygen
- Administering the incorrect drug
- Equipment misuse or malfunction
- Improperly trained or informed medical staff
- Disregarding (either wilfully or accidentally) of patient’s notes
- Lack of informed consent prior to the operation
- Insufficient monitoring of patient
- Improper placement of endotracheal tube
- Lack of “nil by mouth” warning to the patient
- Instances of not being fully informed – some dentists have administered drugs unaware as to what their patient was already taking or was allergic to. They are in fact duty-bound to find out all that kind of information about their patient prior to treating them.
- Anaesthesia awareness – when the patient receives paralysing drugs but has been mistakenly left conscious and is therefore unable to cry for help or communicate with the medical team.
There have also been instances where terrible mistakes have been made simply due to someone not being able to read or fully understand the handwriting on the patient notes. Anaesthesia is an area of medical practice that must be scrupulously monitored at all times. Any of the above is a failing on the part of your dentist and therefore actionable. So how can you be sure that medical negligence has taken place and you are within your rights to file a dental compensation claim? Here are a few indicators that should help you identify that you are indeed a victim:
- Nerve damage in your mouth – if your sense of taste has been affected since your dental treatment or if your tongue feels numb then some of the nerves in your mouth have clearly been damaged.
- Repeated procedures – if your dentist failed to fit a crown correctly or didn’t fill up a dental cavity correctly then you’ll still be in pain. And you’ll have to undergo the same procedure to get it done right next time.
- Incorrect teeth extraction – cases of the wrong tooth or too many teeth being extracted are not at all uncommon.
- Ongoing pain – the original symptoms of your condition are still persisting after treatment or have in fact worsened.
So, having read through the above, if you’ve come to the conclusion that you have been negligently treated by your dentist and you wish to take action, then we can help you. We have vast experience in dealing with dentists and dental clinicians, not only in terms of making compensation claims against them but also in consulting with leading experts in their field to verify your own claim. You can also be assured that our staff are not only chosen because of their legal expertise but also for their compassionate nature, so you’ll be dealing with someone who will be highly sympathetic to your plight.
Ready to take the first step in your dental negligence claim? Then please get in touch with our experienced team of solicitors. Your first consultation with us will be free. Call us on 03300 080 321 or you can fill out a form here.