Dental Negligence Claims
While most people understand the importance of dental health, far fewer actually look forward to those six-monthly dental visits. Despite the professionalism of our dental practitioners, dental procedures do have the potential to cause discomfort, and though the majority of routine dentistry is effective and trouble-free, treatments can sometimes go wrong. If a problem does arise, and some mistake on the part of the dentist has caused or contributed to its occurrence, then the possibility of a claim for dental negligence resulting in unwarranted pain, expense and remedial action should be borne in mind.
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Recent UK figures (for the year 2013-14) indicate that 11.5% of all NHS complaints concerned dental care, and it has also been estimated that a daily average of 479 new complaints are made about dentists and dental technicians. Though individual claims vary in their complexity, here are some of the common instances of dental work which has at times led to mishaps:
If the wrong tooth has been removed, this will have further painful implications for the patient. There may have been a mistake during the operation, or perhaps an earlier misdiagnosis of the symptoms prompting the adoption of an inappropriate solution. In other scenarios, an ultimately successful extraction may have been accompanied by additional injuries caused by inadequate care and skill on the part of the dental practitioner.
In addition to providing essential dental treatments, cosmetic dentistry has become a popular lifestyle choice for many. A broad menu of procedures and the regular appearance of more advanced treatments means there is always the potential for errors and misunderstandings, which often have catastrophic consequences. Some orthodontic techniques and teeth-whitening applications have proved controversial, as has poorly executed crown and bridgework, and some dental practices have taken undue risks with contentious dermal fillers.
Other advances in modern dentistry mean that dental implants, styled to look extremely natural and authentic, are becoming a common option to fill the gaps caused by missing teeth. Both the manufacturing of implants in accordance with data supplied by the dentist, and the subsequent fitting of the product are specialist skills. If a mistake should occur, corrective measures can be not only painful but also costly.
Gum diseases should be diagnosed via routine check-ups and early treatment can be very effective. However, the consequences of delayed diagnosis can be serious for the individual and can even precipitate the early loss of teeth.
As with gum disease, patients should be able to rely upon a qualified dental practitioner to spot the early signs of tooth decay during regular dental inspections. Any failure to do so once again creates the need for painful extra work and the premature loss of teeth, which may well have been preventable.
Should you be unfortunate enough to experience dental negligence, it is extremely important to seek medical and legal advice immediately. Apart from the need for expert medical opinion to assess the damage and discuss restorative treatments, potential claimants will find there are essential legal protocols which must be observed to ensure a satisfactory outcome.
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