By Cat Helena. Last updated 24th June 2022. Have you suffered injuries because of negligent dental treatment? If so, you might ask whether you can start a claim for dental negligence and how much you could potentially claim. In this guide, we aim to answer these questions and give you further information about dental negligence claims. In the sections below, we look at how solicitors can calculate compensation payouts, how to prove dental negligence and how a personal injury solicitor could help you. We also look at some examples of dental negligence in detail such as wrong tooth extraction, a misdiagnosis, a missed diagnosis of oral cancer or negligent periodontal disease care.
Whatever type of dental negligence you’ve experienced, we’d be happy to offer you free legal advice on your potential claim.
Select A Section
- A Guide On How Much Compensation For Dental Negligence Can I Claim
- Dental Negligence Payouts In The UK For 2022
- What Are Special Damages In Dental Injury Claims?
- What Is Dental Negligence?
- Negligent Cosmetic Dentistry
- Can I Sue A Dentist For Nerve Damage?
- Negligent Oral Cancer Treatment
- Negligence In Restorative Dentistry
- Negligent Periodontal Disease Care
- No Win No Fee Compensation For Dental Negligence
- Contact Us About A Dental Negligence Claim
- More Information
- Dental Negligence Statistics
- Dental Negligence FAQs
Whether you’ve visited a dentist for a regular check-up or you’ve had treatment for periodontal disease, a broken tooth or a root canal, you would expect the treatment you receive to be safe and effective. But what if it isn’t? What if you visit a dentist for a damaged tooth and they make the injury worse, causing nerve damage? Or what if you have a health tooth extracted in error? Or, perhaps more seriously, what if your dentist misses clear signs of oral cancer, leaving the disease to get worse? Could you claim compensation for such an event, and if so, how much compensation for dental negligence could you claim?
We have created this guide to explain how dental negligence solicitors could help you claim compensation for the harm you’ve suffered from dental negligence. We explain below how dental negligence cases could come about, and how your injury could affect compensation amounts. In addition, we answer questions such as ‘How long does a dental negligence claim take?’ ‘Can I claim for dental negligence on the NHS?” and ‘Can I claim for a damaged nerve caused by my dentist?’. We hope you find this advice useful. If you’d like to benefit from free legal advice from our claims specialists, or would like to begin a claim, you can contact us at any time.
When you consider making a dental negligence compensation claim, you might wonder how much compensation you could be entitled to. Unfortunately, there are no set amounts when it comes to awarding compensation, so finding an average amount can be difficult.
However, a publication known as the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) can help give you an idea of what you might be able to receive, as they provide guideline amounts based on past cases. Some examples of these brackets are provided in the table below, taken from the 16th edition of the JCG, which was released in 2022. It is also important to note that the JCG only applies to claims made in England and Wales.
|Type of Injury||Compensation Bracket||Notes|
|Jaw fracture (i)||£30,490 to £45,540||Multiple, very serious fractures which require a prolonged course of treatment and lead to permanent consequences which could include paraesthesia, severe pain and restriction on eating. It could also risk arthritis.|
|Jaw fracture (ii)||£17,960 to £30,490||Serious fractures leading to permanent problems with eating, opening of the mouth, or cases where paraesthesia affects an area of the jaw/|
|Jaw fracture (iii)||£6,460 to £8,730||Simple fractures that require immobilisation, but where there is a complete recovery.|
|Tooth damage (i)||£8,730 to £11,410||Severe damage or loss to several of the front teeth.|
These figures are only guidelines, and the actual amount of dental negligence compensation you might receive could differ. For more information, contact one of our expert advisors. They can provide an estimation of what your claim could be worth, as well as more information surrounding dental negligence payouts in the UK.
If you’re claiming compensation for dental negligence, you could receive compensation for more than just your pain and suffering. We set out what you could claim below.
General damages compensate victims of dental negligence for the loss of amenity, pain and suffering of their dental injuries. We illustrated such damages in the table above.
Special damages are pecuniary (financial) expenses victims’ experience as a result of their injuries. They could include any of the below, but you would need to be able to prove they exist to claim for them.
If your dental injuries meant you needed care at home, you could claim the costs of this care.
Whether you’ve incurred prescription fees for medicines or had to pay for corrective treatment, such costs could also be claimed.
Loss of Income
If your dental injuries mean you need time off work, and you lose out on income, you could claim compensation for loss of income. If you are unable to return to the work you once did, you may even be able to claim for future loss of income.
Expenses you incur while visiting your lawyer for a meeting or attending medical appointments could also be considered special damages.
Now we’ve taken a look at how much compensation for dental negligence could be appropriate, let us consider the question ‘what is dental negligence?’
Dental negligence, or dental malpractice, is dental treatment by a healthcare professional that falls short of the standards that are expected of them and causes pain, trauma or injury to a patient. This could include the progression of oral cancer, lifelong pain or nerve damage, for example.
According to the General Dental Council, there are several principles of care dental teams should adhere to, including putting patients’ needs first, treating them in a hygienic and safe environment and only working within their own capabilities, for example. The failure of a dental team to provide safe effective care could lead to cosmetic damage, pain, trauma, or nerve damage. If you could prove that dental negligence has caused you undue harm, you could be eligible to claim compensation for it.
Examples of Dental Negligence
Some examples of dental negligence could include:
- A wrong tooth extraction
- A missed diagnosis of oral cancer when the patient was showing clear signs
- A jaw injury during a tooth extraction
- A nerve injury caused by negligent treatment
If you’re unsure as to whether you could claim compensation, please call us for free legal advice. We would be happy to assess your case to see if you could claim.
Cosmetic dentistry is dental treatment that is meant to improve the aesthetics of the mouth. It could include treatments such as:
- Gum contouring
- A crown
- A bridge
- Dental filling replacement
- Tooth whitening
- Orthodontics, such as braces
To hold a valid claim you must be able to show through evidence that the dentist provided poor care and treatment. This could also be proven by showing that a dentist of the same skill and capabilities would have treated you differently. Also, there would need to be evidence to show that you suffered avoidable harm. Therefore, if you are unsure as to whether a dentist has been negligent call our advisors. They could review your case for free and determine if you may be eligible for compensation.
While providing dental treatment, a dentist must take care to avoid damaging the nerves in the teeth and jaw. One such nerve is the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for motor functions such as chewing and biting, and sensation in the face. If the trigeminal nerve is disturbed, it could cause:
- Anaesthesia – this is complete numbness
- Paraesthesia – this is a tingling sensation
- Dysesthesia – this is burning sensation and pain
In some cases, you may not be aware that you have sustained nerve damage right away. It could take some time for a damaged nerve to be diagnosed. If you have been diagnosed with such a nerve injury, and you believe your dental treatment was negligent, we could offer you free legal advice on making a claim.
It is vital that dentists diagnose and treat oral cancer as quickly as possible to prevent the worsening of the disease. Dentists should have the professional knowledge to spot signs of oral cancer, and if they cannot rule out such a diagnosis, they should refer a patient to the appropriate services so that they can get the appropriate diagnosis and treatment.
A failure to refer a patient with signs of mouth cancer could lead the disease to worsen, causing them unnecessary pain and suffering. A missed diagnosis or late diagnosis could affect a patient’s prognosis significantly. If your dentist has missed the signs of oral cancer and you believe their treatment was negligent, call our advisors to see what your next steps could be.
Restorative dentistry is treatment that a dentist gives in order to keep a patient’s mouth healthy and to repair damage. Restorative treatment could include:
- An implant
- Root canal treatment
- Wisdom teeth removal
- Root canal treatment
If your restorative dental treatment is negligent, this could mean you have to have further treatment due to its failure. Or, you may suffer pain, trauma and cosmetic damage. Whatever harm you’ve suffered due to negligent dental treatment, you could be eligible to claim compensation. We would be happy to offer you free legal advice to see if you could claim.
Gum disease could be considered a common complaint. It occurs due to a build-up of plaque on the teeth and can cause bleeding gums, swelling and pain. If left untreated, gum disease could develop into periodontitis.
Periodontal disease can have serious consequences in some cases. If your dentist fails to spot early signs of periodontal disease, it could progress, which could cause suffering, pain and could even lead to teeth being lost. It could even affect the ability of a sufferer to move their jaw properly.
If your dentist fails to diagnose periodontal disease because they ignore the symptoms or doesn’t treat it appropriately, this could be classed as dental negligence. We could help you connect with a lawyer who could fight for compensation for dental negligence cases involving periodontal disease.
Now you have an idea of how much compensation for dental negligence you could claim, you might be keen to maximise your chances of compensation by using the services of a personal injury solicitor. You may be pleased to learn that a solicitor could work with you under No Win No Fee terms. No Win No Fee solicitors work as follows:
- Your No Win no Fee solicitor sends you a No Win No Fee Agreement. This is a document that your solicitor would require you to sign before they could take on your case. Within the agreement are details of a fee, known as the ‘success fee’. This is the amount of money you’d pay your solicitor when they achieve a compensation payout for you. It is usually a small percentage of your total compensation payout and is legally capped.
- Once you sign and send back the agreement your solicitor begins work on your claim. They build a case against the liable party and negotiate compensation on your behalf. If necessary, they would support you in court should your case reach this stage. Many dental negligence claims are settled outside of court, however.
- Your compensation comes through, and your solicitor deducts their success fee. You benefit from the balance.
Should the claim not result in compensation, you wouldn’t pay the success fee. If you’d like further information on No Win No Fee solicitors, we have produced a guide to help you. Or you could call our team for advice if you prefer.
Now we’ve discussed how much compensation for dental negligence you could claim, you may be ready to begin a claim. Or you may have further questions about claiming. Either way, our friendly, knowledgeable team could help discuss dental negligence cases with you, answering your questions, offering free legal advice and helping you get started with a claim if you’re eligible. We could even put you in contact with a dental negligence lawyer who could help with your claim. All you need to do to reach us is:
We look forward to assisting you.
Complications With Gum Disease – You can find out about the complications of gum disease on the NHS website.
Trigeminal Neuralgia – If the trigeminal nerve is damages, it could lead to trigeminal neuralgia. You can find out more about this condition on the NHS website.
Complaining About A Dentist – You can find out how a dentist should deal with complaints on the General Dental Council website.
Claims For NHS Dental Negligence – negligence claims are covered in this useful guide.
Broken Tooth Claims – Are you claiming compensation for a broken tooth? If so, this information might interest you.
Tooth Loss Case Study – You can read about a case study involving a lost tooth here.
As well as wanting to know how much compensation for dental negligence you could claim, you might be interested in the statistics surrounding dental care in England. The figures below are from the NHS about dental visits. These are not dental negligence statistics.
The NHS reveals that:
- 21 million adults saw an NHS dentist in the 24 months leading up to 30th June 2020
- 6.3 million children saw an NHS dentist in the 12 months leading up to 30th June 2020
- 38.4 million courses of treatment were delivered to patients in 2019/20
While there is no specific section on the NHS Resolution website that shows dental negligence payouts by the NHS, we can look at statistics surrounding payouts relating to general surgery, general medicine and other negligence claims. According to NHS Resolution’s reports:
In 2019/20 damages paid out totalled:
- £48,405,458 in general medicine cases
- £114,410,794 in general surgery cases
- £285,229,639 in other cases
*Payment totals included, damages, claimants legal costs and NHS legal costs.
How Long Does A Dental Negligence Claim Take?
The time it takes to settle a dental negligence claim varies between cases. If the liable party admits fault right away, your solicitor could help you negotiate compensation without the need to go to court. Such claims could be settled more quickly than those that go to court, but in some cases, negotiating compensation could take some time.
Dental Compensation – Top Tips For Making A Claim
Dental negligence, either through the NHS or privately, can cause a lot of harm and suffering. If you’ve experienced harm as a result of dental negligence, you may be interested in suing a dentist or dental practice for compensation. In the article above, you can find our dental negligence claim calculator table, which can help give you an idea of what you could receive should you make a successful claim.
However, in order to make a claim, you must be able to prove that the harm you suffered came about as a result of dental negligence. Some examples of how you could strengthen your claim include:
- Taking pictures of the affected area: If you are able to take pictures of the affected tooth or area, this may help in strengthening your claim.
- Request dental records: Your dental records should show any treatment you have received and may detail any instances of negligence. This documentation could help strengthen your claim.
- Get legal advice: While you are not obligated to enlist the help of a legal professional, the knowledge and guidance of a No Win No Fee solicitor can help make the claims process feel less daunting.
Our advisors are here to help if you have any more questions about suing a dentist for dental negligence. Get in touch today to find out more about how a solicitor from our panel could help you with your claim.
Why Make A Dental Negligence Claim?
Dentists are in a position of trust, and they should do all that they can to provide safe, effective care. They should understand the consequences of providing negligent treatment and the effect this could have on a patient. If they breach their duty of care towards you, and you suffer harm as a result, you may be eligible to be compensated.
How Do I Claim For Dental Negligence?
We would advise those thinking of claiming for dental negligence to seek free legal advice from our team. You could speak to us about the incident you believe was negligent, and we could ask some questions to ascertain whether you’d be able to claim. Based on our assessment, we could offer to connect you with a solicitor to start your claim. While it could be possible for you to claim without a solicitor, many claimants prefer to have legal assistance to claim. Not only could this take the stress off your shoulders when it comes to submitting a claim, but it could also mean you don’t miss out on anything you could claim for.
Is A Wrong Tooth Extraction A Never Event?
A never event is something that could cause death or serious patient harm. Historically, wrong tooth extraction was classed as a never event, However, from 1st April 2021, according to the Faculty of General Dental Practice, wrong tooth extraction will not be included on the never events list. However, these types of incidents are still classed as patient safety incidents. If you suffer a wrong tooth extraction, we could help assess your case to see if it could lead to compensation.
How are dental negligence payouts in the UK for 2022 calculated?
As we mentioned earlier, dental negligence payouts in the UK are calculated based on the specific circumstances surrounding your injuries. These can include:
- Whether or not the third party responsible for your injuries has admitted liablity
- The severity of your injuries
- How long you take to recover from your injuries
- The ongoing effect they will have on your life
- Any additional expenses they may cause, like travel costs or childcare expenses
When you claim compensation for dental negligence, there are two possible heads of claim you can pursue: general damages, and special damages. These two amounts may come together to form your final sum of compensation.
If you would like to speak to an advisor about topics such as potential dental negligence payouts in the UK, then you are welcome to contact us today. To get in touch, you can call us or reach us online using the contact details included in this guide.
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