Welcome to our guide. Have you suffered an injury that could have been avoided had your dentist provided you with the right standard of care? Or did you put your trust in a dentist and they failed to take your concerns seriously causing you to suffer further harm? If so, you may be able to make a dental negligence claim for compensation.
Our guide will look at the compensation you may be owed and the different damages you could be compensated for. Although you may have already used a personal injury claims calculator to work it out, we’ve included another option that could provide an estimate of your claim value.
Additionally, we’ll explore how you could make a medical negligence claim. In this article, we will establish the evidence that would be needed to prove a medical professional provided substandard care and what poof could be used to prove that your injury was a result of medical negligence.
However, if you have any questions after you’ve finished reading, you can contact our team of advisors. They can provide free legal advice to help you understand the options you may have.
Furthermore, if they feel you have a valid claim, they can put you in touch with a solicitor from our panel who could represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.
For more information, contact us on the details below:
- Telephone 0800 652 3087
- The live chat box at the bottom of this page
- Send us an enquiry and we can get back to you at your chosen time
Select A Section
- What Is Dental Negligence?
- What Standards And Duty Of Care Are Dental Patients Owed?
- Dental Patients Rights
- Negligent Periodontal And Gum Disease Care
- Negligent Cosmetic Dentistry
- Negligence In Restorative Dentistry
- Dental Nerve Injuries
- Oral Cancer Care Negligence
- NHS Dental Care Statistics
- Time Limit For Dental Negligence Claims
- Calculate What Dental Negligence Claims Are Worth
- No Win No Fee Claims For Dental Negligence
- Get Assistance With Your Case
- Related Guides
- FAQs About Negligent Dental Care
Dental negligence cases usually involve incidents where a dentist has breached their duty of care and have either:
- Caused you further harm
- Caused you to suffer an injury
For example, you may have been to the dentist because you’ve been suffering pain and swelling in your gums. If the dentist fails to carry out a thorough assessment which leads to a failure to diagnose your condition and later your symptoms worsen this could be classed as dental negligence. Or, the wrong tooth was extracted instead of the tooth that was decaying which left you still with the problem this could also be classed as dental negligence.
Incidents such as these may lead to avoidable pain and suffering as well as other complications further down the line. If you’ve experienced a situation similar to this, a dentist may have breached their duty of care to you.
For that reason, you could claim compensation for the injury or further harm you’ve suffered. However, liability can be complex.
For more information on how to determine whether the dentist was liable for the incident that caused your injury, see below.
All dentists are required to ensure they do everything reasonably possible to keep their patients from coming into further harm. The duty of care you’re owed by registered dentists may include:
- Having your best interests put first
- Always being asked for your consent before treatment
- Your dentist continuously maintaining or developing their knowledge and skills within their field
- Ensuring there is a complaints procedure in place so patients can resolve any issues they may have which may allow the dental practice to always improve and take patient needs seriously
Although the Care Quality Commission (CQC) only inspects around 10% of dental services due to it being considered a low-risk establishment to patient safety, the standard of care should still be taken seriously. For instance, you should expect safe, effective, caring treatment that’s responsive to your needs.
Additionally, dental practices should:
- Be non-discriminatory to its patients
- Have knowledge of your dental history
- Continue to ensure your dental health is at a good level and if not, put interventions in place to help
Despite the CQC’s assessment of dental practices as low risk, the duty of care patients are owed may still be breached in certain situations.
As a dental patient, you have the right to a minimum standard of care from your dentist. If your rights are violated, whether, through dental negligence in the NHS or a private institution, you may be able to claim for the avoidable suffering you’ve endured.
Some of the rights you’re entitled to when you have any treatment on your teeth might include:
- Knowing if the treatment will be funded by the NHS or whether you need to pay for it privately
- Understanding the cost if you need to pay for it
- Information about what the treatment involves and whether there are other treatment options available to consider
However, liability may be complex because if a dentist has followed all the procedures and given you a high standard of care, but there are complications to treatment, it may not have been negligence that caused your harm.
For that reason, the Bolam test may be used to determine whether someone was liable. This involves a panel of other medical professionals with enough knowledge to know the steps that should have been taken. If they confirm that the correct procedure wasn’t followed, then it’s possible this may help prove there was negligence.
The General Dental Council oversees the performance of registered dentists is being maintained to a high standard.
However, if there are any complaints they can either be made through the NHS Resolution or the Dental Complaints Service which may deal with less serious complaints regarding private dental surgeries.
According to the NHS, these are some of the first signs of gum disease:
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
However, if you ignore these signs, it can lead to worsening dental health and other complications such as periodontitis.
Periodontitis is an infection in the gums. It is usually a complication of untreated gum disease. The symptoms may be unpleasant such as swollen, sore, and infected gums. Additionally, if it’s left untreated, it could lead to the loss of teeth.
The assessment of gum disease might involve a thorough examination and sending you for an X-ray in some cases.
If a dentist fails to recognise some of the early signs and provide you with advice and treatment to prevent further complications then they may have acted negligently.
Cosmetic dentistry could include treatments to improve the look of someone’s teeth that they choose to have. However, in some cases, cosmetic dentistry is necessary to a person’s overall gum health.
For instance, having a crown put in to protect a damaged tooth or a root canal to treat an infection at the centre of a tooth.
No matter whether you choose to have dental work done or it’s a necessary part of your treatment plan, you are owed a duty of care. However, this duty of care could be breached. For example:
- A crown being put in wrong or fitted poorly
- Performing unnecessary procedures that caused more damage to the teeth
You may be looking to make a dental negligence claim for a restorative procedure that went wrong as a result of your dentist’s failings.
For instance, you may have lost or damaged a tooth. If so, you may have been offered restorative dentistry care.
If so, your dentist could have been negligent by:
- Filling the wrong tooth causing more damage
- Damaging the nerves of a healthy tooth
- Causing a jaw fracture when having dental surgery
Nerves in the teeth are found in the pulp which holds nerves and blood vessels in the centre of the tooth.
Nerve damage could result in pain and discomfort when eating and drinking.
Any of these nerves could be damaged if a dentist was negligent when performing the following procedures:
- Injecting anaesthetic
- Tooth removal or replacement
According to the NHS, oral cancer involves a tumour growing anywhere in the mouth. For instance, it could grow on the tongue, inside the cheeks, on the roof of the mouth, the lips, or the gums.
Symptoms may vary but they might include ulcers, lumps, loose teeth, changes in speech, or white or red patches. If you notice any of these symptoms you should seek advice from your dentist.
Failing to diagnose or misdiagnosing oral cancer can lead to it being left untreated which may mean symptoms worsen. Although dentists have a duty of care to prevent you from coming into further harm, there may be occasions where they breach their duty of care.
- Failing to conduct a thorough examination or not listening to the symptoms of your condition therefore not providing a diagnosis
- Not sending you for further tests when showing signs of a serious illness
- Negligently misdiagnosing you with another condition causing cancer to progress without treatment
If you’ve experienced something similar, contact our team for more information. They can advise you on the next steps you may need to take to make a dental negligence claim.
The NHS recorded the following number of treatments and appointments that NHS dentists conducted between 2019/2020:
- 21 million adults in the 24 months up to 30 June 2020
- 6.3 million children in the 12 months up to 30 June 2020
- 38.4 million courses of treatment delivered 2019/20
The graph below shows a select few treatments that were carried out by dentists in 2019/2020. They don’t include every treatment but do give an idea of some treatments that patients had.
The figures are provided by NHS Digital.
We understand that you may not be claiming for an injury you suffered recently and it may have been a while ago. However, it’s important to note that when making a claim, there are time limits in place.
The general time limit is three years. This is either from:
- The date of the negligence
- The date you obtained knowledge that the negligence either caused or contributed to your injury
However, there are some exceptions to this. For instance, if someone is under 18, the three-year time limit is frozen until they turn 18. During this time, a parent, guardian, or solicitor may claim on behalf of them by acting as a litigation friend.
Alternatively, they will have three years from the date of their 18th birthday to start a claim for themselves.
Additionally, if the person injured lacks the mental capacity to claim and won’t regain the mental capacity, the three-year time limit is frozen indefinitely. While it’s frozen, someone could act as a litigation friend for them.
However, if they do regain their mental capacity, the three years starts from the date of recovery.
Please find more information in the table below. Also, if you have any questions regarding the time limits, you can contact our team on the number above for more information.
|General Time Limit|
|Three years from the date you were in the accident or the date you obtained knowledge that someone else's negligence caused or contributed to your injuries|
|Under the age of 18||3 years from the date of your 18th birthday||3 years is frozen until you turn 18 and someone could claim as a litigation friend on your behalf|
|Lack the mental capacity and regain the mental capacity||3 years from the date of recovery||3 years is frozen until you gain mental capacity, someone could claim as a litigation friend during this time|
|Lack the mental capacity and don't regain it||3 years is frozen indefinitely and someone can act as a litigation friend to claim on your behalf|
When making a dental negligence claim, you may be awarded compensation for the injuries you suffered under general damages. They cover the physical and emotional suffering caused by your injuries including the effect they may have had on your quality of life.
Additionally, you may be able to claim back any past and future financial losses. For example, if you have been unable to work, get around or needed any additional medical treatment, you may be able to claim:
- Medical expenses
- Travel costs
- Care costs
- Lost or reduced earnings
However, you may be wondering how to prove dental negligence. If so, this section will provide the information you need.
You will require evidence to support your claim. For general damages, you may need to provide evidence of the accident and your injuries. For instance:
- Photographic evidence
- Pictures of your injuries
- Witness details
Medical records will also be needed. In addition, you may get invited to attend an independent medical assessment which can provide a statement of your injuries. This can help value claims alongside the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), a document solicitors may use.
If you’re claiming any additional damages, you will require payslips for lost earnings and receipts for any other losses.
How much is my dental negligence claim worth?
Although there are no average dental negligence payouts in the UK, we have created a table to show you an estimate of how much your injury or illness may be worth. The table includes figures for injuries of different severities. They are provided by the JCG but they should only be used as a guide.
Actual compensation figures may vary depending on the severity of your injuries and the assessment that’s taken into account alongside the JCG. Additionally, any special damages are not included in the table and these will be added to your compensation award.
|Damage to the teeth||Injuries might include an untreated abscess that has led to chronic pain and the condition of the teeth deteriorating||Up to £35,790|
|Damage to the teeth||(i) The award will be given to injuries that have affected several front teeth, either causing them to be lost or seriously damaged||£8,200 to £10,710|
|Damage to the teeth||(ii) Injuries such as serious damage to the two front teeth or loss of them||£4,080 to £7,160|
|Damage to the teeth||(iii) This award will be given to injuries that have caused the loss or serious damage to one front tooth||£2,070 to £3,710|
|Damage to the teeth||(iv) Damage to or loss of the back teeth. The award will be given per tooth.||£1,020 to £1,600|
|Jaw||(i) This award will be given to very serious fractures that need ongoing treatment and issues such as severe pain.||£28,610 to £42,730|
|Jaw||(iii) A simple fracture that needed to be immobilised in order to make a complete recovery.||£6,060 to £8,200|
If you have any questions regarding how much your claim may be worth, get in touch with our team for further help and advice using the number above.
We understand that you may be struggling financially since the incident you were involved in. However, we want to help you access the expert advice of an experienced dental negligence solicitor throughout your claim.
For that reason, our advisors could connect you with a medical negligence solicitor who could represent you on a No Win No Fee basis.
This means that if your solicitor doesn’t win your case, you won’t pay solicitor fees. If your solicitor wins, you’ll pay a small fee. However, the fee you pay is capped and you can decide on it with your solicitor before starting your claim.
Furthermore, you can avoid upfront costs. And you can have access to a solicitor who can help you build a claim and get you the compensation you deserve.
Although we’ve tried to cover as much information on dental medical negligence, we expect you may still have questions. For example, you may be wondering how long does a dental negligence claim take. However, this may vary depending on the specific nature of your claim.
For that reason, if you have any questions our team of advisors are available to help. Not only can they provide free legal advice, but they can also assess your claim if you’re still unsure whether someone was liable.
They can determine whether you have a valid case with a chance of succeeding. If you do, they can pass your case to an expert medical negligence solicitor who can take you through the next steps.
For more information, contact us using the following details:
- Telephone 0800 652 3087
- The live chat box at the bottom of this page
- Send us an enquiry and we can get back to you at your chosen time
If you require more information on making a medical negligence claim, our guide could help.
For further information on dental negligence, see our guide.
Did your dental injury happen while you were under the NHS’s care? If so, our guide on hospital negligence claims could help.
For more information on the General Dental Council, see their website.
Visit the NHS resolution website for more information on how they handle medical negligence claims.
For more information on making a complaint about an NHS service, see the government website.
See below for some commonly asked questions about dental negligence claims.
How do I claim dental negligence?
Evidence is key to claiming negligence against your dentist. For that reason, you should start to build a valid claim by obtaining witness details, photographic evidence or medical records
Can I sue my dentist UK?
If your dentist caused you to suffer an avoidable injury or further harm that could have been avoided, they may have breached their duty of care. If so, you could sue your dentist for negligence.
How much money can you get from suing a dentist?
Dental negligence payouts in the UK may vary depending on the severity of your injuries. However, our table above may provide an idea of how much your claim could be worth.
We hope you found our guide on dental negligence claims useful. Thank you for reading.
Guide by Megan
Edited by LisM.