A woman who was shocked to be told she needed 10 teeth removing due to widespread gum disease has thanked Hudgell Solicitors for securing damages of £50,000 from her dentist – and the treatment which has put a smile back on her face.
The successful dental negligence compensation claim has ensured the patient, of Derbyshire, has been able to undergo extensive remedial treatment at a different surgery.
Vicky was horrified to learn the poor state of her dental health and questioned why her long-term dentist was recommending such drastic treatment, despite having regularly attended for check-ups every six months.
Deciding to see a new dentist for a second opinion, she was advised that she must have been subjected to neglectful care for many years, and that the bill for work required to put her teeth and oral health right was likely to run into the cost of thousands of pounds.
It was at that stage that Vicky, in her forties at the time, turned to Hudgell Solicitors for help, launching a claim of negligence against her dentist.
Examinations of Vicky’s oral health at the time showed that she needed six teeth removing immediately, whilst a further four were assessed as unlikely to last more than 10 years. The rest of her teeth were judged to be in need of life-long extra care, such was the extent of her gum disease.
I’d had some troubles over the years with abscesses and infections, and I did have some pain and sensitivity when brushing my teeth, but there was no indication of the scale of the problems I had, and never was I given any specialist treatment.
I questioned why I was in this position when I had been a regular for check-ups, and it was when I went to a new dentist that they said I must have suffered from years of neglectful treatment to be in the position I was. I was told it was going to cost thousands of pounds to put right and that I’d lose many teeth as a result.
It was shocking and very upsetting, and initially I didn’t know what to do. I’d been seeing the same dentist for years and actually followed him from one surgery to another. My children went to him as well as I trusted him. Initially I even felt guilty about taking legal action against him. You trust a dentist and get to know them. I had always liked him.
Solicitor Nicola Evans handled the case at Hudgell Solicitors, with a claim made against the dentist involved, estimating the cost of remedial care to be in the region of £50,000.
That figure was secured in compensation as insurers agreed to pay compensation, facing a claim that eight titanium implants, extra periodontal therapy for the rest of her life given the damage to her gums, and partial upper and lower dentures were required.
The claim was also calculated to cover periodontal surgery required on six teeth, and repair work to her sinus bone.
Still, it has been a long and difficult process since the settlement was secured in September 2013, as Vicky has undergone extensive treatment to repair the damage done.
It has included periods in which she has had numerous gaps in her mouth where teeth had been removed, and screws visible when treatment was on-going to prepare her gums and strengthen them ready for implants.
A mixture of fixed implants, and a bridge of three teeth, has now finally given Vicky a smile she is proud of again, although she continues to undergo extensive treatment against gum disease and will required further tooth replacement in the future.
It has been really tough and was very difficult for me when I was left without teeth and with screws visible in my mouth.
It really does knock your confidence, especially as I am in a customer facing job. You are conscious of it and it’s not something anyone expects to have to deal with in their forties.
Thankfully, the support from Nicola Evans at Hudgell Solicitors and my new dentist has been wonderful. They have helped me all the way and done everything to put things right for me. Nicola was understanding, honest and supportive and I would never be where I am today without her help and support.
She made the legal process, which seemed daunting and I was hesitant about at first, really clear, and made me understand that it was there to compensate me for what had happened.
It was a long road as initially I needed to be at my new dentist every week for deep cleaning and treatment, my mouth had to be frozen and a lot of work was required to strengthen my gums. I wouldn’t have had the money to pay for it without the claim.
I am really pleased with how my teeth look and feel now and it definitely wouldn’t have been possible without the legal help to get the settlement. It’s been a long and sometimes painful journey but it’s a good outcome, so I’d really like to thank Nicola in particular.
I was hesitant over taking legal action at first, but I know I wouldn’t have been able to pay for these repairs had I not taken this route, and I’d still have many problems and may still be missing many teeth. I do still have a few wobbly teeth which will need replacing in time, but I still have some of the compensation money to do that.
I am really happy with where I am now. I have a nice smile again and I feel confident and happy about myself.
Mrs Evans said: “This was a shocking case of dental neglect, particularly given that Vicky had been a regular at the surgery and with this particular dentist for many years. She trusted him completely but he let her down.
“There was a clear failure to carry out much needed procedures such as scale and polishes and specialist periodontal care. The extent of her gum disease should have been identified and treated way earlier, preventing the loss of teeth and the need for such extensive remedial and future treatment.
“It was lovely to hear from Vicky again, more than three years after the successful settlement of her case, to find out how happy she had been with the treatment and support her compensation brought her, and the positive difference it has made on her life.
“It is great to see her happy and smiling again and we wish her well for her future treatment too.”
- Vicky requested that her surname not be used in this article due to the nature of her work.