A Cheshire dentist has agreed a £12,500 damages settlement with a patient after facing allegations of failing to remove decay before carrying out fillings – causing long term problems and repair treatment costing thousands.
Dentist Ellen Clayden faced legal action – brought against her through dental negligence claims specialists Hudgell Solicitors – after leaving her patient needing 15 months of remedial surgery.
As part of the legal case against her she was alleged to have failed to remove decay on two teeth before carrying out fillings.
She was also accused of poorly fitting other fillings which caused the patient’s teeth to ‘grind’ together and inflame the surrounding area in August 2015.
Alarm bells started ringing when part of her patient’s tooth broke away around a year later.
When returning to Lymm Dental Practice, where she had seen Dr Clayden, she was told the dentist no longer worked there, and that she was facing months of work to put right the extensive damage which had been caused.
“I couldn’t believe what was happening,” said the patient.
“I can remember going in when my tooth broke as it was a Friday afternoon and I needed it sorting for the weekend.
“One of the members of staff told me that Ellen Clayden was no longer working there and they were really sorry. She looked horrified and certainly gave me the impression I wasn’t the only one who had been left in a bad way.”
The patient was told she needed immediate root canal treatment and replacement fillings on two of her teeth. Over the next 15 months, she moved to a new dentist and had three more new crowns fitting, each of which will need replacing every 10-12 years, plus further root canal treatment.
She says that despite the ‘excellent treatment’ she received at her new practice, she was at times in ‘excruciating pain’ and the treatment at times left her face badly bruised.
“I spent 15 months in the dentist’s chair all because of the treatment from that woman,” she said.
“When I thought back I realised she carried out new fillings and started drilling without having even done an x-ray on me.
“I remember thinking the fillings were really quick, much quicker than they usually take, and it made sense when I was told that she’d not cleaned the decay out of my teeth before replacing the fillings. It was a rush job without any care.”
Patient had to use savings and credit card to spend thousands on fund remedial treatment
As a result of the problems, the patient, who runs her own business with her husband, was forced to fund the remedial treatment required, which amounted to thousands of pounds – money she has only now recovered thanks to the successful legal case.
During the case, indemnifiers acting on the dentist’s behalf made settlement offers of £5,000 and then £7,500
It was only after Hudgell Solicitors contacted an independent dental expert, who said the root canal treatment and need for crowns would have been ‘completely avoidable’ had Dr Clayden provided appropriate treatment, that an offer of £12,500 was made.
“The financial side of things on my family was huge and had a big impact on my life,” said the woman, now 47.
“We’re not people who like to put things on credit cards, but we had to cover the cost of all the treatment I needed somehow, and we had to dip into our savings. It was ridiculous as they were offering such a low amount.
“I am really grateful to my solicitor for all of her work, for ensuring this woman was held to account for what she did and for ensuring I was compensated. I just fear others could be in the same position as me.
“Her negligence has had such a massive impact on my life. I faced more than a year of extensive treatment, missed a great deal of time off work and missed out on many social occasions such as weddings.
“I’d never previously been afraid of the dentist, but this has certainly put me off. Thankfully the dentists who have helped put things right have been fantastic.”
Solicitor says patients have ‘right to know’ of dentists providing poor care
Solicitor Sarah Scully, of Hudgell Solicitors, said: “This is an example of inexcusable poor dental care which has had a significant impact on our client’s life.
“We are glad to have ensured that she has been compensated significantly as she has had to fund extensive remedial work over a 15 month period.
“It is appalling that such a long period of distress, both physically and financially, can be caused by a dentist failing to perform a basic procedure such as fillings properly.
“These problems were caused by a failure to ensure teeth were clear of decay before fillings were put in place.
“It shows a complete lack of care, or lack of skill, which should simply not happen when patient’s put their trust in professionals.
“Such poor care should never be left unchallenged either. Lessons need to be learned and patients have a right to be aware of dentists making such mistakes.”