A Patient has been warned he faces losing 12 teeth due to having widespread gum disease – despite having seen his dentist for regular check-ups for the past 22 years.
Glen Lockett, 59, of South Reddish, Stockport, has had four teeth removed as they could not be saved, and has now been warned a further eight have at least 50 per cent bone loss and are likely to require removal in the near future.
The extent of the gum disease he had was only discovered when his dentist, Ian Warrington, of the South Reddish Dental Practice in Stockport, retired in 2011.
Mr Lockett had been a patient of his for 22 years, but it was only when he saw another dentist at the practice that he was told several teeth needed removing.
Mr Lockett says the new dentist, who he saw at the same practice, did not give any reasons why he needed to have teeth taken out, causing him to become suspicious and seek legal advice.
Dental Negligence Specialists
Subsequent investigations, carried out on his behalf by medical negligence specialists Hudgell Solicitors, uncovered the failings in treatment, and the bleak outlook for his future dental health.
“I was blissfully unaware of any problems until I saw another dentist after mine had retired, as up until then, I had regularly attended the practice twice a year, and there were no problems mentioned,” said Mr Lockett.
“I was really surprised to find the extent of the problem. I was really, really annoyed, and to be honest I felt very let down as I had been going there for over 20 years.”
Medical negligence claims specialist Ashleigh Dance consulted an independent dental expert, who concluded after looking back over Mr Lockett’s treatment and records that gum disease would have been evident from 1999.
He concluded that had the gum disease been diagnosed at that time, with the correct treatment and advice, all Mr Lockett’s teeth could have been saved.
Mrs Dance alleged Mr Warrington had failed to carry out basic checks such as X-rays and pocket depths in Mr Lockett’s gums over the two decades he spent treating Mr Lockett as a patient.
Such was the extent of the problems caused, a barrister advising on the case valued the claim in the region of £65,000.
However, Mr Lockett agreed to a £30,000 settlement from the dentist’s indemnity provider as he was keen to bring the matter to a conclusion.
Mrs Dance added: “This case was particularly shocking because, as far as our client was concerned, he was a regular visitor to the dental practice and everything was fine. He thought his teeth were being looked after, but basic standards of care and treatment were not being met.
“It was only when his dentist retired and he saw another dentist at the practice that he began to suspect something was wrong, which we confirmed by seeking expert advice from a specialist.
“This is without doubt the worst dental case of supervised neglect that I have dealt with in my career. He was attending for regular dental check-ups, yet he might as well have not bothered. It is appalling that a patient can be let down so badly.”
Mr Lockett is now having expensive private treatment, but is hopeful of saving some of his teeth with a treatment plan drawn up and being followed.
He added: “If it hadn’t been for Hudgell Solicitors sending me to a specialist, I believe that I still wouldn’t know about the disease, and more teeth would have ended up being removed.
“As it is, I am hopeful we now have the chance to save some at least.”