If you visit the dentist, you’ll always be hoping for a clean bill of health. Whether you attend for a dental checkup, hygiene work, cosmetic treatments, or dental surgery, you’d obviously hope that everything goes to plan. While that’s true in many situations, mistakes while performing dental treatment can and do happen. If you suffer as a result of negligence by the dentist or a member of their team, you may be eligible to make a dental negligence claim for compensation for your suffering.
In this guide to claiming compensation for dental negligence, we focus on what type of negligence occurs at the dentists, how the claims process works, and look into how much compensation for dental negligence could be paid.
If you’d like to take action for dental negligence, we are ready to help. Our personal injury advisors are available to review your case for free. During your initial consultation, you’ll be given honest advice about your chances of being compensated. If your case seems viable, we could appoint a medical negligence solicitor from our team to represent you. If they agree, you won’t need to worry about paying any solicitor’s fees in advance as they’ll work for you using a No Win No Fee agreement.
If you’d prefer to speak with an advisor right away, please call 0800 6524 881. Alternatively, you’ll find lots more information on how the dental negligence claims process works during the rest of this guide.
Table of contents
- Am I Eligible To Make A Dental Negligence Compensation Claim?
- How To Prove Dental Negligence?
- Common Reasons For Claiming Compensation For Negligence Against A Dentist
- What Treatments Could I Claim Dental Negligence Compensation For?
- How Much Compensation Will I Get For Dental Negligence?
- Dental Compensation Amounts
- Time Limits For Claiming Dental Negligence Compensation
- Starting The Dental Negligence Claims Process
There are three main criteria that need to be met to be eligible for compensation for dental negligence. They are:
- Duty of care. Duty of care refers to the responsibility that dental professionals (e.g your dentist) have toward their patients to provide a reasonable standard of care.
- Breach of duty (negligence). This is where it will need to be proven that your dental treatment fell below the standards you could reasonably expect. This would need to be verified by medical experts with a similar level of training.
- Causation. You also need to show that your suffering was caused as a direct result of negligence by your dentist.
Importantly, your case could fail if it can be shown that your injuries would’ve occurred regardless of negligence. This is one of the reasons we suggest you use a specialist dental negligence solicitor to claim compensation for dental negligence. They will thoroughly check the merits of your case and use independent experts to verify where you have the grounds to proceed with a claim.
To help prove that you’ve suffered dental negligence and therefore receive compensation, you will essentially need to have evidence for the three criteria in the previous section. This could include:
- Dental records. Your dental records will be an important piece of evidence, as they should provide a record of the treatment you’ve received and any dental-related injuries or complications that occurred.
- Witness statements. It may be helpful to obtain a witness statement from anyone who was present during your dental treatment, as this can provide valuable evidence and support for your case if liability is denied.
- An expert opinion. An expert opinion from a dental professional who has experience in the specific area of treatment involved in your case. An expert could review your medical records and provide an opinion on whether the standard of care provided to you was reasonable or not.
- Photos. Photos of any injuries (such as broken teeth) that you’ve suffered as a result of dental negligence can be used as visual evidence.
- Financial documents. If you have incurred any financial losses as a result of the negligent treatment, such as costs for private remedial medical treatment or lost income, you should provide documentation to support your claim.
It’s important to be thorough when gathering evidence to prove dental negligence. A strong case will increase your chances of success, so please call today if you’d like to discuss any evidence you might have gathered already.
Dental negligence is a phrase used to describe treatment by a dental professional that falls below the standard you might reasonably expect from a competent practitioner. Some common reasons people might decide to claim compensation for dental negligence include:
- The dentist treated you without considering alternative options first.
- The correct dental procedures were not followed during the treatment.
- If your condition was wrongly diagnosed and you suffered as a result.
- You weren’t told about the risks involved with your dental treatment.
- Where you were not referred for additional tests despite having symptoms of conditions like oral cancer.
Your claim can be made against an NHS dental practice or private dental company and could be based on dental negligence carried out by dentists, orthodontists, dental nurses, hygienists and dental therapists.
There are several common types of negligence that unfortunately happen during dental treatments and end up with compensation being paid. Some examples include:
- Tooth extractions. Compensation may be necessary if healthy teeth end up being damaged during a tooth extraction. Similarly, compensation may be needed if you suffer an infection because the wrong procedures were used or if the wrong tooth was extracted altogether.
- Wrong tooth extraction. You could be due compensation if your dentist has extracted the wrong tooth.
- Dental implants. It may be possible to claim dental negligence compensation if dental implants go wrong. For example, you may have to claim compensation if your jawbone ends up being damaged which causes pain when you eat. Also, you could claim if implants were installed unnecessarily.
- Misdiagnosis. You could seek damages if conditions like oral cancer are not detected during regular dental checkups.
- Wisdom tooth extraction. Compensation might be possible if the method used to extract your wisdom teeth was poorly conducted and resulted in excessive pain. You could also claim for any damage caused by poor aftercare.
- Nerve damage. While some dental treatments will inevitably cause short-term nerve damage, mistakes can also happen that lead to unexpected damage. In cases of dental nerve damage, compensation might be possible. Permanent damage to the lingual nerve, for example, can result in speech problems and problems with chewing and swallowing.
- Fillings, While fillings are one of the most common dental treatments performed, they can still go wrong on occasion. If you’ve experienced pain unnecessarily because the cavity was poorly filled or your tooth is infected because of poor hygiene, dental negligence compensation might be possible.
- Veneers. Whitening the appearance of your front teeth with veneers has become quite popular in recent years. While cosmetic dentistry is usually successful, mistakes can be costly to rectify and embarrassing meaning you could have grounds to seek compensation for damaged teeth.
- Root canal treatment. One reason for compensation here is where an unnecessary root canal treatment is performed. Another is where an infection is not properly cleaned and further operations are required.
- Allergic reactions. Finally, you could be eligible to claim if you had an allergic reaction to medication after your dentist administered an anaesthetic that contained an allergen that you’re known to be allergic to.
You could also be compensated if you endure unnecessary pain and suffering. This may be the result of ineffective anaesthetic or poorly performed dental procedures. If you would like to claim dental negligence compensation, call our advisors for free advice today.
It’s important to point out that your claim isn’t just based on any physical pain you’ve had to endure. Many dental problems can cause distress, anxiety and embarrassment especially when it affects your smile.
If you’ve suffered physically or mentally because of dental negligence that’s caused an avoidable injury or made a problem worse, you could have the grounds to seek compensation for psychological injury.
The amount of compensation you’ll get for dental negligence if your claim is successful will usually be based on:
- General damages. This is where you’ll include any mental or physical suffering as well as any loss of amenity your injuries have caused.
- Special damages. This part of the claim focuses on how you’ve been negatively affected financially due to your dentist’s negligence. If you’ve had to pay for remedial treatment, incurred travel costs or lost income, this could all be claimed back here.
Please visit the page here for more information on general and special damages.
If you are claiming dental compensation against the NHS or a private dentist, compensation amounts for general damages are advised in the Judicial College guidelines. These are the figures we show below, however, they are only a small sample.
|Dental injury||Compensation amount|
|Loss of a front tooth||£2,200 - £3,950|
|Loss of both front teeth||£4,350 - £7,630|
|Significant damage to teeth||Up to £38,130|
|Fractures of the jaw||£6,660 - £45,540|
|Fractures of the cheekbone||£2,990 - £15,780|
|Loss of taste||£19,200 to £24,990|
|Moderate psychiatric damage||£5,860 to £19,070|
It’s not possible for us to realistically enter every conceivable injury so if you don’t see your injury on the list please don’t fret, you may still be eligible to claim compensation for dental negligence. Please call one of our advisors on 0800 6524 881 for free advice.
We should also point out that even if your compensation claim is won, there’s no guarantee that the dental compensation amount paid will be the same as the amounts listed.
If you decide to claim dental compensation, your claim will need to be filed within the appropriate time limits. Your limitation period will start from either:
- The date the negligent dental treatment was performed; or
- The date of knowledge. This is the date when you find out about your dental injuries or illness i.e. when they are diagnosed.
For children who’ve suffered from dental negligence, compensation could be claimed on their behalf by a litigation friend before their 18th birthday. If not, they could file their own claim before they’re 21.
Claims can take anywhere between a few months to several years to be finalised. The time taken will depend upon how serious your dental injuries are and whether the dentist admits liability straight away. Generally, claims are settled amicably out of court but a very small number do require court action.
Proving how you suffered because of dental negligence can be quite a complex task, typically requiring lots of specialist evidence. If you don’t get the dental negligence claims process right, you could miss out on any compensation you may be entitled to.
We believe you are more likely to a) succeed in winning your case and b) be paid the right amount of compensation with the help of a medical negligence solicitor. If a solicitor from our team agrees to represent you, they’ll handle everything for you. That means that you won’t need to answer any tricky medical or legal questions posed by the defendant.
Should liability be argued over, your solicitor will do everything legally possible to try and counter their arguments. Also, they’ll contest any settlement offers if they don’t believe they cover all of your sufferings. Throughout the claims process, you’ll be kept up to date with what’s happening as your solicitor will send regular updates to you and they’ll answer any queries that you think of.
If you’re ready to begin a claim or would like free advice about your options, please call us today on 0800 6524 881. A medical negligence solicitor could start working on your case straight away and better inform you of how much compensation for dental negligence you could claim.