The claimant, a 44-year-old woman, received £171,278 for the dental injuries she suffered and the post-traumatic stress disorder and specific phobia anxiety she developed after receiving dental care from two dentists between September 1995 and August 2012. Ten of her teeth had to be extracted, she received unnecessary dental treatment and she required cognitive behavioural therapy to treat her post-traumatic stress disorder.
Between 8 September 1995 and 16 August 2012 the claimant (C) was under the care of the first and second defendant dentists (D1 and D2).
Whilst under the care of D1, the woman was informed that she suffered from long-term dental conditions including unusually thin enamel and a specific condition affecting the roots which meant that she would eventually lose all her adult teeth. She was also advised that, as a result of such conditions, she would need to pay for a dental payment plan to pay for all the work she would require. The woman purchased the dental plan from September 2002 and the dental examination at that time showed that there were no problems. D1 carried out treatment including root canal treatment at UR6, LL7, UL4, UL5, UL6, UL7, LL5 and LR6; the provision of fillings at UL3, UL6 and LL7; the placement of crowns at UL3, UL4, UL5, UL6, UL7, LL5 and LR6; and an extraction at UL7.
Whilst under the care of D2, she underwent examinations. It was later discovered that there were caries present on the tooth at LL6.
The woman underwent extensive dental treatment over a 7 year period.
During this time and subsequently, the woman experienced pain and suffering. She suffered caries which caused significant damage to her dentition. She believed that the apparently substandard crown placed at UL3 by D1 and his failure to address the matter caused damage to the tooth at LL3. She also alleged that as a result of the treatment provided by D1 she underwent extraction of teeth at UR6, UL3, UL4, UL5, UL6, UL7, LL7, LR6 and LR7, required implants and crowns, underwent three unnecessary root-canal treatments; had eight crowns unnecessarily fitted and five fillings unnecessarily placed. She suffered occlusal problems in relation to UL3, UL5 and UL6.
Following D2's treatment in relation to her tooth at LL6, she subsequently had to have the tooth extracted.
After receiving treatment from D1, the woman only had three contact points in her mouth between her upper and lower teeth. As a result she was unable to eat hard foods and struggled with her diet. She also stopped eating out in public.
In mid 2012, when she realised that she had been misled by D1, she began to suffer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. She experienced panic attacks, emotional concomitants, with dissociation and depersonalization. She also suffered specific phobia anxiety due to the damage caused by the recurring dental treatment and remedial treatment required. The specific anxiety related to dental examinations, with anticipatory anxiety and episodes of panic during examination and treatment.
The woman was absent from work for approximately six months due to the physical and psychological impact of the dental treatment. She suffered flashbacks of the traumatic treatment which initially occurred several times each week and occasionally multiple times in a single day. They later occurred less frequently. The condition also affected her social life.
She underwent significant restorative dental treatment. She also received cognitive behavioural therapy for the PTSD.
The woman required further restorative treatment to improve her dentition. She required occlusal adjustment treatment to improve contact between the teeth. She also required a new occlusal appliance, following the other restorative treatment, to alleviate the risk of temporomandibular joint dysfunction and discomfort and protect the new restorations from occlusal forces which could lead to their premature failure.
For her PTSD, she required approximately 20 sessions of CBT. It was believed that with such treatment she would recover from the symptoms within approximately 12 to 18 months, meaning that her symptoms would have persisted for approximately seven years.
Liability not admitted by either dentist. D1 did not acknowledge service or proceedings and so judgment was entered in default. D2 did not admit liability and did not produce a Letter of Response or Defence.
On assessment, the woman was awarded £162,278 against D1. An out of Court settlement was agreed with D2 in the sum of £9,000. The total award was therefore £171,278.
Johnathan Steventon-Kiy, specialist medical negligence lawyer, says:
“Claims for dental negligence are very complicated and require the input of a specialist solicitor. Cases for dental negligence will often require expert evidence from the dentist. Biscoes specialist medical negligence solicitors have many years’ of experience in pursuing dental negligence claims and can offer a free consultation and no win no fee agreements.”
Contact our specialist personal injury, medical negligence and industrial disease solicitors on 0800 413 463 or visit www.biscoes-law.co.uk for more information. You can also follow us on twitter using the handle @biscoesmedneg