Going to the dentist can be an unpleasant experience for many people, and for our client Oliver Robson, this was definitely the case. When he was told he needed a tooth extraction, he never thought it would result in permanent and irreparable nerve damage.
Oliver first attended his dentist in June 2015, as he’d started to experience pain in a bottom tooth on the left side of his mouth, and it had begun producing pus. The tooth had previously been restored in 2011 and 2014; following a radiograph and a prescription of antibiotics, the plan was for Oliver to return to the dentist for the tooth to be removed.
In September, Oliver returned to the dentist for his tooth to be extracted, however his dentist had some difficulty removing the tooth and called for assistance. Another dentist then attempted to extract the tooth, but also failed to have any success. Finally, after a third dentist was called to assist, the tooth was successfully extracted. Oliver was prescribed amoxicillin and sent home to recover.
It was recorded by Oliver’s dentist in his medical notes that a flap was raised buccally and bone was removed from around the tooth using a drill in order to complete the extraction. Two days after the extraction, Oliver returned to his dentist as he was experiencing numbness up to the middle of his lip and chin, with occasional tingling. He was told to return the following day, where they then found he was suffering from an infection. The area was irrigated and packed and he was given further antibiotics, but was still suffering from the numbness.
Unfortunately, the problem continued; Oliver needed to take pain relief for a week and the pain would often wake him at night. He returned to the dentist a few days later complaining of the numbness and a tender socket where the tooth had been removed. His dentist prescribed him a further course of antibiotics to sort the issues.
The numbness continued to affect Oliver, and he was finally referred by his dentist to the dental hospital in November, where he underwent a cone beam CT scan of the mental foramen area. At the beginning of December, Oliver was advised by the dental hospital that during the extraction, he had suffered an injury to his mental nerve, unfortunately causing permanent damage.
Oliver contacted Fletchers and we helped him bring an action against his dentist for failing to identify the proximity of the mental nerve to the root of the tooth, and causing or allowing an injury to Oliver’s mental nerve.
We achieved an out of court settlement of £12,500 for Oliver’s case. Although we hope this will go some way to helping him move on from the dental negligence, he should never have had to experience weeks of pain and discomfort following the tooth extraction. He won’t be able to get the feeling back in his lip and chin, but Oliver’s case does raise the point that even simple dental procedures can cause lifelong injuries when they go wrong and it is right to continue to go back to the clinician if you feel like there is a problem.