Four dentists who practised at the same Grimsby dental surgery have settled legal cases against them in which they faced allegations of poor care and neglect.
Insurers acting on behalf of dentists Timothy Stokes, Ian Burrell, Ivan Delgado and Carlos Noguera Mutillo have agreed damages settlements totalling more than £30,000 with patients following claims made against them.
Stokes, Burrell and Delgado were all named in legal action served by Hudgell Solicitors relating to a patient who was suddenly told she had ‘widespread periodontal disease’, despite regularly attending check-ups and appointments for six years.
Patient left ‘devastated’ when told she faced losing most of teeth
Solicitor Michelle Tebbutt said the woman patient, who asked not to be named but is in her 30s, was left ‘devastated’ after being told serious damage had been caused to her gums and bones.
“Independent experts indicated that this lady was in such a bad situation that she was likely to lose almost all her teeth over the next five years as the gums and bones were so weak and badly diseased,” said Ms Tebbutt.
Legal papers alleged the three dentists, who provided dental care to the patient at the Burrell & Stokes Dental Practice, in Hainton Avenue, Grimsby, between February 2009 and June 2015, had failed to carry out basic and appropriate tests which would have highlighted the issues and ensured earlier preventative treatments.
Compensation for patient following negligent dental treatment claim
In a second case, insurers also paid out a damages settlement following treatment of a patient by Dr Carlos Noguera Mutillo. He faced an allegation of negligent treatment in respect of a bridge fitted on a 30-year-old female patient.
In this case it was alleged the patient had been left in agony after the dentist fitted a fixed bridge to fill a small gap in the patient’s teeth, which had been left by the loss of a baby tooth.
The woman had previously had a ‘Maryland bridge’, which are often used to fill small gaps by bonding a false tooth to surrounding teeth, which are left undisturbed.
As this no longer fitted, the dentist suggested a replacement bridge, which the patient accepted, although she says she was unaware this would involve the dentist drilling into the two teeth either side of the gap to hold the new crown in place.
Patient ‘wasn’t told dentist would drill into healthy teeth’ to fit bridge
The patient, who also asked not to be named, said: “I had no idea that the work was going to involve drilling into my healthy teeth at all, I just expected a replacement for what I’d had before, which was fixed with a piece of metal behind my other teeth to hold it in place.
“I was a bit apprehensive as I always get a bit anxious about any form of treatment, but I trusted the dentist just to get it right and to do the best for me. You’d never expect a dentist to start drilling away perfectly healthy teeth.
“It was only when he started drilling into my teeth I knew the extent of what he was doing and my partner said that something was very wrong. I’d gone in to have a small gap filled, not have more teeth taken away.
“As he had already started though I couldn’t really do anything other than let him complete the job as it would have looked a complete mess with a huge gap and partially drilled away teeth.
“When he stopped drilling it was clear he had drilled away at two perfectly healthy teeth. I have a really good set of teeth and it was really upsetting to suddenly find this had happened to me.
“In the end I had to accept having a bridge fitted across three teeth but that has led to me being in constant pain around the two teeth to either side of where the gap was. I have to eat on one side of my mouth because it is too painful and even brushing my teeth causes pain.
“The bridge has also become loose so now when I am eating anything hard I daren’t bite it really in case it falls out as I’d have a ridiculous gap across three teeth.
“One day when I went back to the surgery a woman there told me not to touch my teeth. How ridiculous can you get having a bridge which is so poor that your dental surgery is telling you not to touch them?
“I’ve developed a bit of a skill now in terms of eating on one side of my mouth and I make sure I don’t have any sugary food or drink as it’s just too painful. I moved to a new dentist, but despite them being really good, visiting the dentist is a nightmare for me now. They have difficulty getting me to let them near my teeth.”
Numerous areas of concern over treatment’ at Grimsby dental practice
Solicitor Ms Tebbutt added: “There are numerous areas of concern in the treatment received by both patients of this dental surgery, from the standard of care provided to the lack of information and consultation taking place,” she said.
“In terms of the case against the three dentists, there was a clear failure to take appropriate action through basic periodontal examinations which would have resulted in more specialised tests being required throughout the patient’s treatment. She has been devastated by the impact of this and faces losing many teeth in the years to come.
“Dr Mutillo quite simply failed to consult fully with his patient and ensure she fully understood the treatment planned, something which is completely unacceptable.
“No patient should be shocked by the treatment they receive as this lady was, and in her case it has been further aggravated by the fact that she has been left in pain, and the bridge she had fitted has continued to cause her problems since.
“We are glad that both cases have resulted in damages settlements being offered to reflect their pain and suffering, and hopefully the money received will help them access better care and the required remedial work going forward.”
Insurers acting on behalf of the four doctors agreed to pay damages which together totalled more than £30,000.