Medical Negligence

Patient awarded £47,000 damages after four decades of neglect by dentist left them facing loss of eight teeth

Dental Negligence

Vince Shore

Joint Head of Clinical Negligence (Hull)

3 min read time
31 Mar 2016

Hudgell Solicitors has secured a dental patient damages of £47,000 after poor care over four decades resulted in them suffering serious gum disease and facing the loss of eight teeth.

The patient of the now-retired dentist Allan Clark, had regularly attended at in Broad Walk Dental Surgery Buxton, Derbyshire, from the 1970s onwards to see Mr Clark for check-ups and treatment.

However, in ‘one of the worst and longest cases of dental neglect’ seen by our dental negligence experts at Hudgell Solicitors, the dentist consistently failed to diagnose or treat moderate to severe gum disease.

The patient’s records showed routine fillings and occasional scale and polishes had been carried out, however, during this entire period of care not a single X-ray was taken, which an independent dental expert said would have revealed gum disease.

Poor care uncovered when dentist retired

It was only when the dentist retired from the practice in 2012 and the patient started seeing another dentist at the surgery that the widespread gum disease, which was destroying the patient’s gums and putting teeth at risk, was uncovered.

The patient, who has asked not to be named but is now in their 50s, has since had to have four teeth removed.

In the legal claim against Mr Clark, an independent dental expert consulted by our team concluded that the patient was also likely to lose another four teeth in the future, whilst a further three teeth will need urgent and costly treatment.

In his report as part of the claim, the independent expert said: “In my opinion the dental records commencing in 1972 demonstrate decades of supervised neglect with a failure to provide oral hygiene instruction and preventative treatment.”

Insurers acting on behalf of Mr Clark accepted the claims, stating: “It is accepted that Mr Clark failed to provide an acceptable standard of care to the patient throughout most of his years of attendance.”

The dentist also accepted failing to carry out reasonable care and skill when carrying out root canal treatment on three teeth, between 1995 and 2003.

Settlement reflects significant suffering and costly future treatment required

Medical negligence solicitor Hayley Collinson, of Hudgell Solicitors, said: “This case of supervised neglect is easily one of the worst and longest we have ever seen, as it spans four decades.

“The patient was duly attending dental appointments for 40 years, confident that they were looking after their teeth and that there were no sinister underlying problems.

“However, once the dentist retired and another dentist at the same practice took over, the full horrifying truth as to the state of the patient’s gums and teeth emerged.

“This settlement reflects the significant suffering that our client has endured as a result of dental negligence, and will continue to endure for several years to come, as costly and uncomfortable dental work is now needed for the foreseeable future.

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Patient awarded £47,000 damages after four decades of neglect by dentist left them facing loss of eight teeth

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