Hudgell Solicitors has secured £20,000 compensation for a dental patient who was left with a ‘severe burning pain’ in her jaw – and needing extensive further work – following root canal treatment.
Dawn Pieta, 55, from Gelligaer in South Wales, was left in agony when her root was perforated in the normally straight-forward procedure.
The pain was caused as an anti-bacterial agent, sodium hypochlorite solution, soaked into her gums and surrounding tissue due to the perforation, causing an inflammatory reaction.
Although widely used in dental practice during root canal treatment and generally regarded as being very safe, sodium hypochlorite solution is also well known to have a number of potentially severe complications when it comes into contact with soft tissue.
Our specialist dental compensation claims team at Hudgell Solicitors formed a case which argued that suspecting a root fracture, the sodium solution should not have been used to cleanse the treatment area, and that this amounted to sub-standard care.
Solicitor Nasreen Khan also alleged that numerous other problems afterwards, including the need to have the fractured tooth removed, continued pain and discomfort, the extraction of further teeth and chronic pain, related back to the sub-standard treatment back in November 2011.
Insurers on behalf of the dentist, in Wales, have paid Ms Pieta £20,000 compensation and she is now under the care of a hospital orthodontist. Hospital staff are now using her case as an example to teach their trainee orthodontists.
Nasreen Khan said: “When we visit our dentist, we trust that they have the knowledge and empathy to ensure all work they carry out is done to the highest standard, and to ensure the minimum amount of pain.
“In this case, little care appeared to be taken when it came to considering the possible impact on Ms Pieta, and she has suffered for years afterwards as a result.
“We are pleased to hear that lessons are being learned as a result of this situation. Ms Pieta was left in agonising pain following sub-standard treatment which could have been avoided simply by taking greater care and having more consideration of the possible consequences given her recent dental history.”
Ms Pieta said: “It has been a nightmare. The pain after my root canal clean out was horrendous and I had a severe burning pain in my jaw.
“When I left the surgery and started walking to the car the pain started getting worse, and continued to do so as I was driving home. My face then started to swell up and I could feel it becoming more and more swollen by the minute. By the time I arrived home, the pain was so severe that I rang the dental surgery back immediately and they said to take painkillers, but to go back the next morning.
“When I went back to the practice the next morning, it was a different dentist and he said he had never seen anything like it before, and said I should go to A&E. The hospital examined me and sent me home on complete bed rest with painkillers.”
Even today, Ms Pieta, who works in aviation security, struggles with the pain.
“I ended up needing that tooth out and I saw three different dentists at the same practice afterwards, and I still suffer a lot of pain now,” she said.
“My cheeks, lips and eyes were all very badly swollen. The swelling lasted for five or six weeks, so I had to be off work. My teeth often keep me awake at night now and there have been times I haven’t been able to go into work. If you think of constant toothache, it’s ten times worse than that and constantly throbbing.
“The hospital did everything they possibly could to save my teeth but they couldn’t. Without them, I would be in a right mess.
“The hospital staff asked if they can use my case as an example to teach their trainee orthodontists. I know things like this happen, so if anyone can learn from it, then that will be a good thing to come from it at least.
“I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”