As you might expect, most patients are happy with the outcome of their cosmetic dentistry treatment. However, some procedures don’t always lead to the desired outcome and can result in unnecessary pain and suffering. In this guide to cosmetic dentistry claims, we’ll explain how you could be compensated if negligence by a cosmetic dentist results in avoidable injuries. As we progress, we’ll explain how negligence can be proven and how the cosmetic dentistry claims process works.
Our team is here to help if you do wish to begin a claim. During a no-obligation consultation, an advisor will consider all aspects of the claim with you. They’ll explain your options and offer free advice too. If your case appears to be strong enough, we could pass it on to a dental negligence solicitor from our team. If they agree to represent you, the claims process will be made less stressful because of their No Win No Fee service.
Are you ready to start a cosmetic dentistry claim right away? If so, please call 0800 6524 881 to speak with a specialist advisor. Otherwise, please read on to learn more about when you could be compensated.
Table of contents
- Am I Eligible To Make A Cosmetic Dentistry Claim?
- Common Procedures Resulting In Cosmetic Dentistry Negligence Claims
- Common Causes Of Cosmetic Dentistry Negligence Claims
- Examples Of Cosmetic DentistryNegligence
- How Much Compensation Will I Get For Cosmetic Dentistry Negligence?
- Evidence To Support A Cosmetic Dentistry Claim
- Cosmetic Dentistry Claims Time Limits
- Starting A Cosmetic Dentistry Claim
All dental professionals including dentists, hygienists, and dental nurses have a legal duty of care to provide an appropriate standard of care to their patients. Before a dental negligence solicitor can take on a claim, they’ll check whether:
- The level of care you received was below what could be reasonably expected of a competent dental professional. This is called negligence or a breach of duty; and
- You suffered an injury or illness because of that negligence. This is known as causation.
Essentially, you can only claim compensation for negligent cosmetic dental procedures if you have suffered. Unfortunately, that means you wouldn’t be able to make a claim just because you were not happy with the outcome of your procedure.
In most cases, there is no clear difference between cosmetic and necessary dental treatments. Essentially, if a procedure is carried out to try and improve the appearance of your teeth rather than to fix a medical problem, it will be classed as a cosmetic treatment. In almost all cases, cosmetic dental work is performed by private practitioners as the NHS will not usually fund such work.
Cosmetic dentistry negligence claims can be based on various different procedures including:
- Crowns – Loose-fitting crowns can cause significant damage to the underlying teeth which can often lead to decay and infection.
- Braces – While dental braces are more accepted today, especially amongst young children, sometimes it is only when they are removed that badly manufactured/fitted braces become obvious.
- Veneers – It is easy to forget that teeth are extremely sensitive and it is only the enamel which protects the core nerve of the tooth. The application of veneers is an extremely delicate procedure and substandard work can lead to increased sensitivity, decay and even result in eventual tooth extraction.
- Teeth whitening – This is perhaps one of the more common cosmetic dentistry procedures but using chemicals or lasers to whiten teeth can weaken tooth enamel and lead to decay.
- Gum procedures – There are some dental procedures which alter the form of a patient’s gum to make teeth appear straighter and more cosmetically acceptable. We have seen cases where the gums have been drawn too far back resulting in long-term tooth decay and root issues.
If you believe you have grounds to claim for injuries sustained during cosmetic dental treatment, please call our team and we’ll provide a free review of your case.
As mentioned above, with all cosmetic dentistry claims, a claimant needs to prove that there was negligence by the dentistry practice when administering specific cosmetic dentistry procedures. Dental negligence tends to fall into two specific categories which are:
Even though the vast majority of dental practitioners have many years of theoretical experience and significant expertise before they treat the general public, we still see cases of misdiagnosis of dental problems. There will be certain aspects which are incorrectly diagnosed or simply missed when the dental patient has been examined. These could take in an array of different issues and can often result in further oral damage and significant long-term pain.
We have seen issues where cosmetic dental work is recommended which turns out to be inappropriate for an underlying condition. Even though the cost of cosmetic dental work is now more affordable for many people, there are some establishments promoting cosmetic dental procedures for which they are ill-qualified to carry out. One of the main problems is that due to the very nature of potentially deep-seated dental problems, which are misdiagnosed or missed completely, corrective dental work can be extremely expensive. In the event of a successful cosmetic dentistry claim, the cost of any corrective work could be incorporated into the final award.
One of the main issues when it comes to cosmetic dentistry negligence claims is substandard or inadequate dental techniques. These can lead to serious long-term damage to the jaw, gums and teeth which can lead to compensation payments from a health point of view as well as potential compensation for psychological injuries.
If you are considering cosmetic dental work it is vital that you research practitioners in your area and review any feedback available. This is not a foolproof method but there is no doubt that the Internet today has helped to expose substandard cosmetic dentistry work and point potential patients in the right direction. In many cases, if fees quoted for cosmetic dental work look too good to be true there is every chance that they are indeed too good to be true.
There are many forms of negligence that could lead to you suing your dentist after botched cosmetic treatments. We won’t list all of them here but some common forms of negligence that result in a claim include:
- If your cosmetic dentist did not explain the risks associated with your cosmetic procedure.
- Where alternative procedures were not considered before treatment started.
- If your teeth were damaged, or your gums, by poorly fitted crowns.
- If a tooth dies or decays because of dental negligence when preparing for the application of veneers.
- Where tooth enamel is weakened by chemicals during teeth whitening.
- If you suffer after braces are removed because they were not fitted or monitored properly.
- If you suffer from extreme sensitivity or a tooth decays because too much gum is removed when attempting to straighten your teeth.
- Where you suffer an infection following treatment because of poor hygiene or aftercare.
As explained earlier, you could be compensated following negligent cosmetic dentistry if it has caused you to suffer in some way. If you are not sure whether you’ll be entitled to claim, why not call our team today so that they can review your options for free?
The amount of compensation for a cosmetic dentistry claim you will get, if successful, is designed to help you recover, as much as possible, and to cover any costs you’ve incurred because of your injuries.
As a result, a settlement amount could be based on:
- The physical pain you endured because of the cosmetic dentist’s negligence.
- Any psychological suffering such as distress, embarrassment and anxiety.
- Earnings you lost if your injuries stopped you from working.
- The time a relative, friend or loved one spent caring for you while you were recovering.
- Travel expenses such as fuel costs linked to additional dental appointments for example.
- Medical expenses including private dental treatment to try and rectify any mistakes that caused your claim.
- Future loss of income if your injuries will reduce your ability to earn in the future. For example, if you’re a model and you’ll earn less because of scarring or permanent damage to your teeth.
It is important that a cosmetic dentistry negligence claim is considered carefully before it’s filed with the defendant. Therefore, as part of their service, your solicitor will review everything in fine detail to try and understand the full impact the dental negligence has had on you. This will allow them to try and secure the maximum compensation possible for your suffering.
During the claims process, you’ll be asked to visit an independent medical expert so that your injuries can be assessed. This will involve your teeth being examined and a discussion about the impact of your injuries. Once the meeting has concluded, a report detailing your injuries and prognosis will be provided. Until this report has been received by your solicitor, we can’t say exactly how much compensation you could be eligible to claim.
If you decide to sue a dental professional for negligence, they will more than likely pass the claim to their insurance provider. Unless liability is admitted right away (which is typically not very likely), you’ll need evidence to prove how your injuries were caused and how they have affected you. The types of information that might help to be useful during the claims process include:
- Photographs. It is a good idea to provide some before and after pictures to show any visible defects caused by your cosmetic treatment.
- Correspondence. If you have complained about your dental treatment, any response from the defendant could be used as evidence in your case. Similarly, you could use any emails, adverts or letters you received prior to treatment or anything you were given relating to aftercare.
- Dental records. As part of the claims process, you’ll need to allow your solicitor to request copies of the dental records relating to your treatment and any notes from the consultation before your treatment.
- Witness information. In some cases, you might be asked to provide details of anybody who was with you when your cosmetic treatment was being discussed. A statement from them could help to clarify what was said if your claim is disputed by the dentist.
- Financial records. You should keep any receipts, invoices or statements that show any expenses you’ve paid for because of your injuries.
When you get in touch for a free review of your case, we’ll review any evidence that you can supply so if you’re able to, please have it ready when you call.
The Limitation Act 1980 dictates that any form of medical negligence claim has a 3-year time limit. If your injuries were immediately obvious, the limitation period will begin on the date you were treated. Where problems were not spotted until a later dental appointment, the start date might be extended.
There is quite a bit of work involved before your claim can be filed with the dentist. Therefore, it’s a good idea not to leave things too late. If you begin your claim as early as possible, your solicitor will have enough time to gather evidence and arrange for an independent medical assessment.
Importantly, your solicitor might be able to secure interim payments to cover any immediate expenses (like lost income or private remedial treatment) before your claim is finalised. This could be the case if liability is accepted for your injuries early on in the process.
We’re here to help if you’ve decided that it’s time to take action against a cosmetic dentist. A quick call to our advice centre on 0800 6524 881 might be all it takes to get the ball rolling. Remember, if your claim is strong enough, a solicitor from our panel could represent you on a No Win No Fee basis without being paid upfront for their work.
Our live chat service is available 24 hours a day if you have any extra questions about cosmetic dentistry claims so please don’t hesitate in contacting us.