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Dental Negligence Claims

Visiting the dentist can be a distressing experience for many people in the UK. In fact, according to the NHS website, one in four of us 8 are afraid to attend dental appointments, generally due to the fear of painful treatment or following a bad experience in childhood.


Whilst modern day dental treatments have advanced dramatically and dental care in general is of a much higher standard, dentists and dental technicians do still make mistakes, leading to unnecessary pain and distress for patients.

Whilst some victims of dental malpractice will make a full recovery, some issues are more serious and can leave lasting damage; in many cases, leaving patients unhappy with their appearance.

One in four of us are afraid to attend dental appointments Click To Tweet

Dental complaints and errors are not uncommon and can cause an enormous amount of pain and suffering, often paired with considerable, unexpected costs. If you have been treated privately or on the NHS and believe you could have been the victim of dental negligence, contact a member of our specialist team on 0800 0187 038.


161116_sj-113_webDental negligence cases can involve complex legal arguments and confusing terminology. At Smith Jones, we understand it can feel overwhelming and so we take the time to explain everything and answer any questions you have to put your mind at ease. This leaves you to concentrate on getting better without worry, safe in the knowledge your claim is in good hands.”
Sarah Gilmartin, Smith Jones Solicitor

Recovery and Further Treatment

Following any type of injury or illness, the most important thing to do is to concentrate on getting better, leaving our dental team to take on your claim and fight on your behalf to help you recover any dental negligence compensation to which you are entitled.

Don’t worry if the problem has already been resolved. Whatever stage of recovery you are at, we can still provide advice according to your individual situation.

If you do require further treatment, our advice would be to keep evidence of any charges/expenses you have incurred so that we can include these in your claim for compensation. We cannot guarantee we will recover these costs but we will certainly try to do so.

If you require ongoing care/treatment to correct the dental problems you have encountered, we advise you to consider carefully who you wish to undertake further treatment.

Some of the most common dental negligence claims include:

  • Incorrect, inadequate or careless dentistry
  • Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose at all
  • Extraction of the wrong tooth
  • Fragments of surgical instruments remaining after treatment causing pain and/or infection
  • Failed procedures or procedures that failed after a short period of time
  • Failure to plan treatment adequately leading to an unsatisfactory outcome
  • Failure to document treatment properly leading to an unsatisfactory outcome
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Numbness in lips/tongue
  • Loss of taste/smell
  • Supervised neglect such as failure to provide adequate advice regarding oral hygiene leading to unnecessary problems
Seek advice from our specialist dental team today on FREEPHONE: 0800 0187 038

Cosmetic Dentistry Claims and Restorative Dentistry Claims

Nearly half of the population are unhappy with their teeth (48%) with discoloured teeth (64%) the main reason for being unhappy 7, so it’s no surprise that many turn to cosmetic dentistry.

Just under half the population (48%) are unhappy with their teeth. Click To Tweet

Depending on the surgery performed, if carried out correctly, patients should expect their treatment to last a considerable amount of time. Treatments that show signs of failing within a short period of time should be investigated to see what is causing the failure.

Before any treatment was provided, your dentist should have carefully planned your treatment to ensure you do not have any complicating factors which could affect the success or sustainability of the planned procedure. Your dentist should also have explained the risks and limitations of the treatment and taken the appropriate steps to document the condition of your teeth and mouth before commencing any treatment.

Failure to plan your treatment properly and inadequate preparation may pose an unnecessary risk to the patient.


Common Restorative Dentistry and Cosmetic dentistry Treatments Include:

Dentists commonly use implants following the loss of a tooth, restoring function and giving patients a natural looking replacement.

Sadly, dental implants can be fitted incorrectly and fail, a mistake that can be extremely painful for the patient and expensive to put right.

Dental implants are anchored into the jawbone, making the procedure one requiring specialised skills and qualifications, however, with increasing demand for the treatment, more dentists including those without advanced qualifications in implantology are conducting the surgery.

The UK spends £5.8 billion a year on dental treatments 9 and given the considerable cost of implants, you have every right to expect the highest quality result.

If you feel the care you received was negligent, or you have been left with implants that do not function or appear as you expected, you can speak to a member of our dental team on 0800 0187 038.

A crown is a tooth shaped ‘cap’ that is used to cover your own tooth to improve its appearance and restore strength and function.

Modelled using a dental impression, once applied, the crown will encase all the tooth that sits above the gum line.

Crowns are often used by dentists to restore broken teeth and strengthen those weakened by large fillings or root canal treatment. Crowns can also be used to cover discoloured or misshapen teeth and as part of a bridge/implant treatment.

A bridge is a fixed replacement for one or more missing teeth. An impression of the teeth either side of the gap (abutments) will be taken allowing your dentist to create a mould and use the surrounding teeth to support an artificial middle section (pontic). The abutment teeth will serve as an anchor for the false teeth and will require some preparation to allow room for a crown to be fit over the top of them.

Whilst all complex dental treatments have an element of risk attached to them, a well-maintained crown or bridge that has been fitted correctly could last for approximately 10 years.

If you feel you have encountered any of the issues below in relation to your crown or bridge, speak to a member of our dental team on 0800 0187 038.

  • Sensitivity/pain
  • Incorrect fit (including the bite feeling incorrect)
  • The crown/bridge becoming loose or falling off completely
  • Food getting caught
  • Did your dentist offer alternative treatments E.g dentures rather than a bridge?
  • Did you give consent to carry out the procedure?
  • Do you feel your dentist assessed your dental health adequately before performing the procedure?
  • Does the end result look the way you expected?
Veneers are made from a thin layer of porcelain, custom made to be placed over the front of teeth to improve their appearance. Many people opt for veneers when their teeth become discoloured, misshapen, or chipped. As the adhesive used to fix veneers is extremely strong, veneers are designed to last many years.

Signs that your veneer procedure may not have been effective include: poorly fitting veneers, unnecessary damage to the supporting teeth, infection, failing veneers that chip or even fall off.

Before proceeding with the treatment, your dentist should have discussed with you the potential risks and limitations and explained any alternative options that were available to you.

Unfortunately, inappropriate and unnecessary treatments are sometimes carried out without a patient’s knowledge. If an alternative treatment was available to you and your dentist failed to advise you of this, they may have acted negligently.

If you have experienced problems following the application of veneers such as unnecessary pain and additional costs to rectify the issue or you feel you were advised to have veneers unnecessarily, our specialist dental team may be able to help.

You can speak to a member of our specialist dental team on 0800 0187 038.

We place a lot of trust in dentists and so it is vital that you understand all of your options, including the pros and cons of any treatment fully before you agree to proceed. If you have any of the above concerns or fear the treatment undertaken may not have been the appropriate treatment for you,or want to know if you can make a claim due to your dental complaint, our friendly dental team can help you decide what to do next. You can contact us by calling Freephone 0800 0187 038.

Gum & Periodontal Disease Claims

The prevention of gum and periodontal disease is managed by practicing good oral hygiene at home and attending regular dental appointments.

During your routine check-up, your dentist should examine the health of your teeth and gums. It is your dentist’s responsibility to monitor and report any problems as they arise and failure to do so could mean that your dentist has acted negligently.

Failure to recognise and treat gum disease in its early stages can lead to serious complications such as periodontal disease (periodontitis) which could weaken the bone supporting the teeth and lead to tooth loss. Astonishingly, as many as 15% of adults have severe periodontitis11.

At this advanced stage, periodontal disease becomes much more difficult to treat, with patients facing the possibility of surgery.

If you have developed gum disease or in severe cases, periodontitis and have attended regular check-ups without your dentist identifying the issue and advising you on the best course of action, you could be entitled to dental negligence compensation.

Seek advice from our specialist dental team today on FREEPHONE: 0800 0187 038

Root Canal & Endodontics Dental Negligence Claims

Root canal treatment is performed to eradicate infections that occur at the centre of a tooth. Infection in the root canal is generally caused by decay, damage to the tooth (trauma), or a leaking filling. Root canal treatment involves removing the infected ‘pulp’, draining any abscesses which may have formed then cleaning and filling the root canal.

The procedure should be carried out as soon as possible after identification of the infection and as with any complex dental procedure, your dentist should undertake a full assessment before planning the treatment.

Depending on the extent of the infection, a patient undergoing root canal treatment will most likely require 2-3 visits to the dentist.

The last stage of the procedure is to strengthen and protect the treated tooth, as teeth that have been filled are more susceptible to fractures a crown may be required.

Dental negligence claims arising from root canal treatment include:

  • Inadequate treatment resulting in pain and in some instances infection
  • Failure to remove the nerve properly
  • Nerve damage
  • Fragments of dental instruments left behind after surgery (causing abscesses)
  • Injury caused to the mouth or surrounding teeth during surgery

We may also be able to help you if your dentist failed to gain consent from you before carrying out the procedure and the outcome is unsatisfactory or if your dentist failed to advise you of any other options that may have been available to you. Call 0800 0187 038 to speak to our specialist dental team directly.

Other Dental Complaints

Dental negligence doesn’t just occur when a mistake is made.

Sadly, we have experience of dealing with a variety of dental complaints such as dentists acting negligently by conducting complicated surgery, when a simpler and more cost effective solution could have provided the patient with a similar or the same result; often these complex procedures come with a substantial price tag.

A dentist can also act negligently by failing to plan treatment appropriately. A lack of planning in dentistry can lead to all kinds of problems for the patient either immediately or somewhere down the line.

We will also need to consider whether you were advised correctly in relation to existing health concerns/ lifestyle choices that may impact the success rate of certain treatments. If you have suffered unnecessary pain/loss as a result of a dentist breaching their professional duty, we may be able to help you make a dental negligence compensation claim.

You may have visited more than one dentist during the course of your treatment. If the failings of a previous dentist have been pointed out by your current dentist, please ensure you pass these details on to our friendly dental team. You can speak to them directly by calling 0800 0187 038.

The Dental Negligence Claim Process

  • img-1Contact our team for free on 0800 0187 038

  • img-2

    Our dental expert will review your case

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    We will advise whether we can pursue a claim

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    Dental records requested

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    You may be required to attend a dental examination

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    Negotiate settlement

Read more about the dental negligence claim process by visiting our Dental Negligence FAQ’s section below.

Our Expertise

Our dental team includes a highly qualified dentist, working alongside our Specialist Personal Injury Solicitors who have experienced a variety of dental negligence cases.

Expert Profile

  • B.D.S. – Batchelor Dental Surgery
  • MFGDP – Member of Faculty of General Dental Practitioners
  • Dip Imp Dent (RCS) – Diploma Implantology (Royal College of Surgeons of England)
  • Dip Rest. Dent (RCS) – Diploma in Restorative Dentistry (Royal College of Surgeons of England)
  • Past Clinical Tutor AstraZeneca

Our dental expert has practiced at the highest level for over 32 years. From his own surgery, he has helped patients in every field of dentistry and understands the importance of:

  • Communication
  • Proper pre-op assessment
  • Proper planning and case work up
Got a question? Try our Dental Negligence FAQs

Negligent dental treatment includes a wide range of complaints.

If you feel your dentist has not provided a high standard of care, whether you have undergone a cosmetic treatment or routine dentistry, you have the right to seek redress. Our dental team can help you if you feel the care you received was substandard. We have the knowledge and determination required to help you secure financial compensation for your suffering to help you move forward with your life following a negligent procedure.

You would normally have 3 years from the date you first knew of the problem to make a claim. There are exceptions to this, for instance, if you are under 18 years old or if you are acting on behalf of a family member who does not have the mental capacity to act for themselves.

We always advise that you contact a specialist Solicitor as soon as possible, to give you the best chance of succeeding in your claim.

Our team can help you make a dental negligence claim for all manner of dental misconduct. Whatever the treatment you required, you should have received a high standard of care. If standards have not been met, resulting in a painful outcome, the need for more extensive treatment to rectify the error, further expense or any treatment that has unnecessarily affected your appearance, our team can help you work out what to do next.

Making a claim for compensation can not only ensure you have the required funds to correct what went wrong but can also prevent the same from happening to somebody else. Our dental team will work with you to secure a settlement that includes compensation for your injuries and losses you have suffered as a result, such as loss of earnings if you have had to take time off work.

There are a number of factors to consider when proving a dentist has been negligent. A combination of these factors can form the basis for a claim for dental negligence.

  • Has there been a breach of the dentist’s duty of care to you as his/her patient?
  • Has the Dentist provided you with inadequate or negligent advice?
  • Have you been given inappropriate treatment or poorly executed appropriate treatment?
  • Have you suffered unnecessary pain, discomfort and distress as a result?

If a dentist has failed to fulfil their professional duty, resulting in a patient suffering unnecessary pain/loss, we may be able to help you make a claim for compensation.

If you have concerns that you have received poor advice or treatment from your dentist, we will need to establish if a different outcome would have been achieved if appropriate advice or treatment had been given. If adequate advice or treatment would have left you in exactly the same position, we may not be able to pursue a claim against the dentist.

Dental negligence claims are complex and the individual circumstances of each claim are relatively unique. To ensure we are able to give you the best advice for your situation, we recommend you call and speak to a member of our dedicated dental team so that together, we can work out the best way to proceed.

NHS statistics show that 21% of adults prefer private dentistry10 however, choosing a private practitioner does not guarantee your treatment will go exactly to plan. Whether you were treated by an NHS dentist or elected to see a private dentist, and you believe they have acted negligently, you may be entitled to make a claim.

The vast majority of Dental Negligence cases are conducted on a Conditional Fee Agreement (more commonly known as a ‘No win, No fee’ agreement). This means there is no financial risk to you in pursuing a claim.
In a successful No win, No fee claim, some of the fees will be paid by your opponent and a percentage will be deducted from your settlement to cover the remainder of our legal fees. The maximum percentage will be capped at the outset so you will always keep the majority of your settlement and there will be nothing to pay at the outset.

  • If the claim is unsuccessful there is no financial obligation.
  • You will only be charged a fee (taken from your settlement) if you are successful.
  • You will not be charged for your initial enquiry. There will be nothing to pay until the conclusion of your claim.

Terms and conditions apply

  1. You contact our team on Freephone 0800 0187 038 and give us as much information you can about your dental treatment.
  2. Our dental expert will take a look at your case and consider the initial prospects of success.
  3. Our team will advise you whether we are able to pursue a claim on your behalf, and if so, will set up a file and begin work on your claim right away.
  4. We will request your dental records and arrange for these to be reviewed by our in- house dental expert who will provide a provisional view on the prospects of success so as to avoid wasting time later on.
  5. We may require you to attend a dental examination to enable a dental expert to write a report. Please note, no dental procedures will be carried out – this is purely an examination.
  6. Expert evidence will be used to support your claim and if successful, your Solicitor will negotiate settlement.

Your Solicitor will be there to answer any questions you may have at any stage of the claim.

A claim for dental negligence is primarily made up of compensation for your pain and suffering.

In addition to this, if you have been left out of pocket in respect of further treatment costs or travel for instance, we can include those additional expenses in our settlement negotiations. We always advise that you keep any evidence you may have such as receipts/ticket to support your claim for additional expenses.

In addition to further treatment costs, dental mistakes can often lead to stress and time off work and these factors can also be included as part of your claim for compensation.

It is extremely difficult to value a claim without first seeing expert dental evidence, however, we understand that when deciding to make a claim, an indication of the level of compensation you could be entitled to is important. That’s why we’ve put together the following guide.

Facial Injuries (13th Edition)

(e) Fractures of Jaws
(i) Very serious multiple fractures followed by prolonged treatment and permanent consequences, including severe pain, restriction in eating, paraesthesia and/or the risk of arthritis in the joints. £25,490 to £38,060
(ii) Serious fracture with permanent consequences such as difficulty in opening the mouth or with eating or where there is paraesthesia in the area of the jaw. £15,020 to £25,490
(iii) Simple fracture requiring immobilisation but from which recovery is complete.

(f) Damage to Teeth
In these cases there will generally have been a course of treatment as a result of the initial injury. The amounts awarded will vary according to the extent and/or the degree of discomfort of such treatment. Any difficulty with eating increases the award. These cases may overlap with fractures of the jaw, meriting awards in the brackets for such fractures. Awards may be greater where the damage results in or is caused by protracted dentistry.

£5,390 to £7,320
Significant, chronic, tooth pain (such as from an untreated abscess) extending over a number of years together with significant general deterioration in the overall condition of teeth: Up to £31,900
(i) Loss of or serious damage to several front teeth. £7,320 to £9,540
(ii) Loss of or serious damage to two front teeth. £3,630 to £6,380
(iii) Loss of or serious damage to one front tooth. £1,840 to £3,300
(iv) Loss of or damage to back teeth: per tooth: £910 To £1,430

*Taken from ‘Guidelines for the Assessment of General Damages in Personal Injury Cases’, thirteenth Edition (2015) by Judicial College. Each settlement will be valued according to the individual merits of each case. The figures displayed above are intended as a guide only. Your own Solicitor will be able to advise you of the settlement you could be entitled to.

if you're not sure whether you can make a claim, then phone our free helpline on 0800 195 95 90 and we will assist you.

0800 0187 038

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