Great strides have been made with regards to preventing the causes of cosmetic dentistry negligence claims. However, cosmetic dentistry is now more affordable and therefore more available to the masses than ever before. While the vast majority of cosmetic dentistry procedures are administered without a hitch, unfortunately there are still plenty of procedures which do not achieve the desired outcomes.
Substandard cosmetic dentistry procedures can result in health problems and scarring which can have a major impact on a person’s life. There are obvious risks with cosmetic dentistry, as there are with any medical procedures, and not all issues will result in a successful cosmetic dentistry compensation claim but while dentistry professionals have a duty of care to their patients to deliver a predetermined standard of care they also have an obligation to deliver on their promises.
As with all dental negligence claims whether cosmetic or not, it falls upon the claimant to prove negligence which can result in compensation being paid.
Traditional Dentistry And Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
It will surprise many to learn that the Office of Fair Trading does not differentiate between necessary and cosmetic dentistry. The blurring of the lines is understandable because very often dentistry treatment will involve necessary work as well as a “finishing off” cosmetic element. The main differentiation between traditional dentistry and cosmetic procedures is perhaps best reflected by the fact that so-called pure cosmetic dentistry cannot be undertaken by the NHS. So, this leaves the field open for private dentist practices to market their cosmetic dentistry services to an ever growing market.
The term “cosmetic” is perhaps a little misleading because it does tend to give an air of vanity which is understandable in some situations. However, missing, crooked and discoloured teeth can have a significant impact upon an individual’s confidence and indeed in some situations they can impact their career prospects. So while it is fair to say that from a health point of view there is perhaps minimal requirement for so-called cosmetic treatments, they are not necessarily all about improving a person’s appearance for the sake of vanity.
Common Causes Of Cosmetic Dentistry Negligence
As 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 practice on the general public, we still see regular 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 for compensation, the cost of any corrective work may well be incorporated into the final award.
Inadequate Dental Procedures
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 may well lead to compensation payments from a health point of view as well as potential mental trauma.
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 fool proof 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 too good to be true.
Common Procedures Resulting In Cosmetic Dentistry Claims
There are many different treatments available today to those experiencing discomfort with their gums, teeth and jaw. The main challenge for patients is to obtain the right diagnosis and to ensure that their chosen practitioner has the experience to carry out the appropriate procedure. There are a number of different cosmetic dental procedures which can result in strong compensation claims that include:
- Crowns – Loose fitting crowns may be causing 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 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.
Starting A Cosmetic Dentistry Negligence Claim
If you have experienced cosmetic dentistry negligence it is vital that you make a note of where and when it happened, specific injuries, the practitioner involved and the initial promises made. An experienced dental negligence solicitor will be able to give you a fairly quick opinion on the strength of your claim for compensation. In the majority of cases a strong cosmetic dentistry claim will be pursued on a No Win No Fee basis.
Once a dental negligence solicitor has been appointed it is then a case of starting the claim, advising the defendant of the circumstances of the claim and giving them the option to settle out of court. Where there is clear negligence on behalf of the dental practitioner they will likely look to limit any further expenditure and settle out of court. In some instances the claim will go before the courts although before and after pictures, dentistry x-rays and promotional literature will prove very useful in supporting a cosmetic dentistry claim.