Hudgell Solicitors has secured £10,000 compensation for a 24-year-old woman after her dentist failed to provide basic standards of care for her teeth over a number of years, leaving her needing extensive surgery and a fixed brace.
Despite being a regular for check-ups and examinations from being a child, Natasha Mead, of Bricknell Avenue, west Hull, was left with two baby upper canine teeth which prevented her adult teeth from developing normally, causing them to become embedded in the roof of her mouth.
Dentist Ian Wood, who practiced at Trenton Dental Practice, in Anlaby Road, Hull for many years but retired in January 2015, also failed to remove Natasha’s left upper molar tooth as a child, again preventing the natural development of her adult replacement.
These errors not only left Natasha with gaps in her upper mouth due to the differences in size of teeth, but also now needing extensive surgery, and a permanent ‘train track’ brace which she will need to wear for 12 months.
Natasha also found herself facing a £5,700 bill to carry out the necessary repair work, as because she is now over the age of 18, she is unable to have the work carried out under the NHS, as she would have been eligible to as a child.
That bill has now been covered after Hudgell Solicitors took on her case in August 2014, claiming Mr Wood had breached in his duty of care by not removing the baby teeth at an appropriate time.
A compensation settlement of £10,000 was offered by his insurers last month to cover the cost of the work, and to compensate Natasha for the fact she will have to undergo surgery and wear the brace.
Natasha, who saw Mr Wood throughout childhood and had regular six monthly checks, only became aware of how bad the problem was when seeing a different dentist after returning from a spell travelling abroad.
As she is now an adult, she is no longer able to qualify for free treatment under the NHS for the work needed, and was told she faced a large cost to bring her adult teeth through.
“I was shocked and angry when I found out the position I had been left in simply by the dentist having not removed my baby teeth. It was even more annoying to be told I faced a big cost to put it all right,” said Natasha, who works in a Hull pet store.
“I had said to him many times that I thought they should have been removed for my adult teeth to come through, but he just kept saying they would work their own way through that it would be fine to leave them. He said the baby teeth would fall out when they were ready to.
“I was late losing the majority of my milk teeth, but when my adult teeth started coming through at the front of my lower set, he took two teeth out and there were no problems. I can’t understand why he never did the same with the teeth at the top.
“Obviously it’s not going to be great having to have this surgery and then wear a fixed brace for two years, especially at my age, and given that I work in customer service. Unfortunately though it’s something I’ll have to put up with.
“Thankfully, Hudgell Solicitors have quickly sorted things and through their help I now have the money to be able to sort things out. I certainly couldn’t have afforded to have paid for it myself, as I was originally told I would need to do.”
Ashleigh Dance, of Hudgell Solicitors, represented Natasha in the case and said: “Mr Wood saw Natasha regularly over a number of years from being a child and should have recognised that her baby milk teeth should have fallen out by the time she was 12 to 13 years of age.
“Even at the age of 18, despite attending for regular check-ups and examinations, he did not properly investigate the retained baby teeth or consider the impaction on the development of her adult teeth.
“Natasha should have had this work done as a child. Instead, she has found herself facing surgery, which was going to cost her thousands of pounds if she had funded it herself, and now also has the social embarrassment of having to wear the brace during her early twenties.
“We are glad that our support has enabled Natasha to cover the cost of the dental surgery which is needed to bring her teeth into satisfactory condition. It is unacceptable though that this was allowed to happen to her as it was completely avoidable with basic standards of dental treatment.”
Mr Wood is understood to have retired in January and is longer registered as the provider of services at Trenton Dental Practice on the Care Quality Commission website.
The service was registered under a new provider in March of this year.