Two Front Teeth Missing – Can I Sue My Dentist?
Our client lost two front teeth as a result of extensive periodontal disease that was not recognised.
Two dentists failed to perform a thorough and adequate periodontal examination allowing our client's situation to deteriorate, resulting in the loss of two front teeth. Despite examinations and complaints from our client regarding the looseness of her teeth there was a failure to diagnose periodontal disease and a failure to refer her to a specialist or dental hospital for appropriate treatment.
Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is a very common condition that should not be missed by a qualified dental practitioner. It has wide-ranging complications if not caught early enough.
What Happens Next?
Following investigation into our clients claim, Helen Donaghy, Partner and Assistant Head of Medical Negligence
here at Simpson Millar LLP, sent a letter of claim, in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Clinical Disputes
, to both Defendants outlining how they failed our client. The allegations of negligence included:
- A failure to take appropriate radiographs and report on them
- A failure to make any proper diagnosis of periodontal disease at any time
- A failure to adequately monitor the outcome of the periodontal treatment that was provided
But despite numerous delays and requests for extensions of time the Defendants never substantively responded to our client's letter of claim, they failed to respond the allegations made and failed to make any admissions. Therefore our client was forced to issue court proceedings to achieve a resolution of her claim. Having to take the matter to Court increased the costs of this matter exponentially.
The purpose of the Protocol is to encourage openness and provide general guidance on resolving clinical disputes to ensure that parties are given sufficient information at an early stage to enable claims to be settled without resorting to Court action. This can lead to significant savings in delay and costs.
The Defendants requested a further 2 month extension of time for service of their Defence which required approval by the Court thereby increasing costs further still, before making an offer of settlement 2 days before the Defence was due to be served. The Defendant's failure to respond caused significant delays in reaching a resolution to this matter and incurred unnecessary costs.
This is significant given the recent resurrection in the media of the myth, largely created by the Government, of "greedy"
Clinical Negligence lawyers who use the NHS as a "cash cow"
. In this case costs would have been saved if the Defendants and their insurer had accepted liability at an earlier stage.
Benefits of Seeking Help
Our client has some advice for all those that would like to seek help but are unsure:"I was very happy with the professional and sympathetic service I received, and was always kept updated on the case progress. I felt that my traumatic experience was taken seriously, and remained confident that the case would have a positive outcome."