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Compensation for 26-year-old patient facing ‘invasive surgery’ after dentist failed to remove baby teeth

Guy-Jackson


A man whose dentist left him with his baby teeth into his twenties – preventing the development of his adult replacements – has been awarded damages following a legal case.

Guy Jackson lost the majority of his baby teeth when he was a child, allowing his adult teeth to come through as normal.

However, both of his upper left and right canine baby teeth remained in place and were not removed by his dentist.

This has led to him now facing the prospect of prolonged treatment to bring his adult teeth through, as he has been told they may be fused to his jaw.

Mr Jackson, now 26, said his mother first raised concerns with his dentist, Dr Carl Bergin, who then practised at Bergin Family Dental Practice in Beeston, Leeds, when he was 10-years-old.

His mother questioned when his remaining baby teeth would fall out, but was reassured by Dr Bergin and trusted his judgement that no further action was needed.

In 2013 however, at the age of 22, Mr Jackson was left with a gap when one of his baby teeth broke and needed removing, as the adult replacement had not been able to develop as it should.

He is now facing the loss of his second baby tooth, which has recently become wobbly, and fears he will be left with a second gap.

Treatment was ‘below standard of a reasonable dental practitioner’.

An independent expert, consulted as part of a legal case led by medical negligence specialists Hudgell Solicitors, said Dr Bergin failed Mr Jackson on various levels between 2001 and 2013, and that the treatment he received was below the standard expected of a reasonable General Dental Practitioner.

The expert said that had Mr Jackson had his baby teeth extracted when he was about 10, it could have increased the chances of his permanent adult teeth coming through in a more favourable position by 80 per cent.

Even had that not happened, the expert said further treatment should have been undertaken at the age of 12 or 13.

Mr Jackson, a plumber who lives in Birstall, West Yorkshire, stopped attending the practice and sought alternative treatment at a new practice in Morley, West Yorkshire,

He said: “I don’t like to show my teeth when I smile and it’s really affected my self-confidence throughout my life. In most of the photos that have been taken of me throughout my childhood and into adult life, I’m not smiling.

“It’s taken such a long time to sort out, and he left a piece of the root in when he removed the first baby tooth, so that was a mistake too.

“The dentist didn’t listen to me and said I was too old to have braces on the NHS when I was 15. I think if I’d had braces, I would have had a nice smile before I was 21, so I feel let down.”

Mr Jackson is now about to have braces fitted on the NHS and undergo further treatment in a bid to bring his adult teeth down in line after years of discomfort.

However, there are no guarantees the adult teeth will not be fused to his jaw, as this risk increases with age, and he has been warned the late intervention may not be successful.

Damages of £9,000 agreed following claim against dentist

Although Dr Bergin’s representatives did not formally admit liability, they agreed to seek an “amicable settlement” in the claim, resulting in £9,000 damages being agreed with Mr Jackson.

As part of the claim it was alleged Dr Bergin did not make any reference to Mr Jackson’s two remaining baby teeth during any examinations between 2001 and 2006 and, despite numerous X-rays, it was only noted that his permanent teeth had not yet come through in November 2006, when he was 15 years old.

Further reassurances from Dr Bergin came in 2008 that no further action was required and 2013 saw one of Mr Jackson’s baby teeth break, which was removed.

It was alleged Dr Guy-JacksonBergin failed to become suspicious of the potential problem when Mr Jackson was 10 or 11 years old, failed to note his adult teeth were not coming through at appointments in 2001 and 2003, and failed to refer him for further treatment in January 2003.

It was also alleged that, despite regular check-ups, he failed to recognise and record that Mr Jackson’s adult teeth had not come through until 2006, failed to refer him to an orthodontics specialist for further treatment to be considered at the age of 11 or 12, and incorrectly advised Mr Jackson’s mother that the need for referral was not necessary when X-rays showed the teeth hadn’t come through in 2008.

Mr Jackson, who regularly visited the dentist for check-ups, said he has always taken good care of his teeth and was shocked to find himself in this position as his whole family used and recommended Dr Bergin for many years.

He said: “We all went as a family – my grandparents, parents and sisters. You put your trust in these people and if the dentist says your adult teeth will come through, you believe they will come through.

“I always thought he was a good dentist and I didn’t realise how wrong I was until I was older. It’s been a nightmare and I just want to be able to smile with confidence.”

Invasive dental treatment could have been avoided with appropriate care

Emma Turner, of Hudgell Solicitors, dealt with Mr Jackson’s case and, said: “This is a case in which basic dental care has not been provided and it has had a lasting impact on our client.

 “Your smile is one of the first things that people notice when they see you and, as a young man growing up it must have been really difficult, especially in social situations.

“Mr Jackson now faces having to undergo invasive treatment that will take, at the very least, six months longer than it would have had the treatment taken place when he was a child.

“In the interim period, he has suffered embarrassment due to the cosmetic effect of having his baby teeth on show rather than his adult teeth.

“He previously enquired with a different dentist about the treatment options for his teeth but was told it would have to be on a private basis, and that was not something he could afford at the time.

“Mr Jackson now has the opportunity following his case to be under the care of an orthodontist he trusts and have the treatment he has wanted for years without the fear of being unable to afford it.”

Mr Jackson said he would recommend Hudgell Solicitors and was pleased with the way his claim was handled.

He added: “It was a long process because it was detailed, but we got there and Emma was really good. She kept me in the loop all the time and has got the outcome I wanted.”

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19/07/2017 No Comments

Error making dentists must repair the damage – and fully compensate patients for suffering and loss

Teeth and dental equipment


 

New statistics released by Citizens Advice have shown a substantial increase in the number of cases relating to poor dentistry over the past 12 months, with the service handling 4,000 enquiries over dental care problems last year.

These may be figures which shocked many – and led to national newspaper headlines – but they certainly were no surprise to our team of dental claims specialists here at Hudgell Solicitors.

The dental profession is one we have long raised concerns over, due to lapse regulations and a lack of accountability placing patients at risk.

Substandard dental service was said to be the biggest issue reported to the consumer service about dental care between April 2015 and March 2016.

People reported problems such as dentists cracking healthy teeth during a treatment, fillings coming out and dentures that didn’t fit. Further analysis of 354 of these cases revealed that three in four cases concerned, treatments actually caused the patient further problems.

In nearly a quarter (23%) of those cases patients said dentists also then refused to offer a refund or a free-of-charge repair.

In one case, a woman in her 70s paid £500 to have her teeth capped, only for the dentist to chip her two front teeth during the treatment. The dentist didn’t offer a repair or any compensation, and she then paid another dentist a further £700 to get the damage fixed.

This is truly shocking.

Patients have right to be compensated after dental negligence

When we visit our dentist, we have the right to expect the best standard of treatment by a qualified professional.

And should things do go wrong – which they often do – patients should certainly not be expected to pay to repair the damage themselves. It should be the opposite, they should be compensated for their pain, suffering, and often loss.

We represent an increasing number of clients who have suffered from poor dental treatment, from dentists simply failing to identify and treat gum disease (often despite patients having many regular check-ups) to poorly fitting crowns and painful abscesses caused by errors in treatment.

Between October 2014 and October 2015, close to 60 cases relating to sub-standard dentistry care led to patients being compensated after turning to us for help. In total, the money paid out was in excess of £540,000.

In our view, it is always advisable to seek a second opinion should you have any concerns you’re your dental treatment, especially if your dentist suddenly suggests extensive treatment, or if you have doubts over the quality of service you’ve received.

Our specialists recently secured compensation of £47,000 in a dental negligence claim as a patient had received poor care over four decades, resulted in them suffering serious gum disease and facing the loss of eight teeth.

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

Dentists must ‘provide clear information about claiming compensation’

Unfortunately, dentists are often a choice of convenience, rather than research. Many simply choose practice closet to their home, without checking details on performance.

This is a risk, as most people fail to realise that dentistry is a very loosely regulated profession, leaving patients at risk of receiving sub-standard treatment, and potentially facing large bills for remedial work, should their treatment go wrong.

This is because many dentists practising in the UK abscond when they become aware of potential claims and some do not have indemnity cover in place, even though this is a requirement for registering with the GDC. Also, whilst cosmetic dentistry procedures such as veneers, laser whitening and teeth straightening are being carried out by dentists who don’t have specific qualifications or experience of the procedures. They do the work simply because they are money spinners.

Our advice is to thoroughly research a dental practice before become a patient, and to check the General Dental Council (GDC) register of professionals before agreeing to any treatment.

If you have concerns, raise them, and if in any doubt seek a second opinion.

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy is calling on dentists to follow the rules by correcting their mistakes free of charge instead of passing costs onto patients, saying, and providing ‘clear information about how they can claim compensation if something goes wrong’.

Our team are available to provide that free legal advice should you or someone you know have concerns over your dental care.

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24/06/2016 No Comments

World Oral Health Day – are you in safe hands or is your dentist causing the problem?

Teeth and dental equipment


By Sarah Smith, dental negligence lawyer at Hudgell Solicitors

This Sunday marks World Oral Health Day (March 20), an international day to celebrate the benefits of a healthy mouth and to promote worldwide awareness of the issues around oral health, and the importance of oral hygiene for both old and young.

However, as specialists in handling many cases of dental neglect, our team at Hudgell Solicitors knows that whilst it’s good to celebrate healthy teeth and gums, good advice isn’t quite as simple as suggesting you should regularly visit a dentist.

Between October 2014 and October 2015, we handled close to 60 cases relating to sub-standard dentistry care, securing our clients in excess of £540,000 in compensation.

This money reflected the suffering and loss for patients at the hands of dentists they trusted, with cases ranging from dentists simply failing to identify and treat gum disease (often despite patients having many regular check-ups) to poorly fitting crowns and painful abscesses caused by errors in treatment.

One dentist took out seven teeth without the patient’s consent, whilst another patient had to have 10 teeth taken out and dentures fitted because their dentist had failed to treat and manage gum disease over a period of years.

Uninsured dentists could put patients at risk

The key question isn’t really ‘do I go to the dentist enough?’ – it is more a question of ‘how do I know my oral health and teeth are in in good hands?’

Uninsured dentists are an increasing problem in the UK, as it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of patients could be at risk from practitioners defying laws requiring them to have cover should things go wrong.

It has been estimated and reported in the national media that more than a quarter of the 40,000 dentists in the UK qualified abroad and had little or no training in Britain.

We recently represented a patient who was fitted with an ill-fitting bridge, costing her approximately £2,000. During the treatment, she suffered damage to two healthy front teeth.

As a consequence of the negligent treatment, she required root canal treatment and two crowns. The root canal treatment cost was £750+ per tooth, and the crowns required replacement around every 12 years, at a cost of approximately £700+ per crown.

However, upon investigating the claim it was discovered that not only had the dentist failed to maintain proper insurance, but also he had left the country and emigrated to South Africa.

It turned out that there was a string of complaints against this dentist, and the GDC held a Disciplinary Hearing where other allegations were heard, including poor care administered to his patients over his many years of practice.

Cosmetic dentistry is booming, but choose your dentist carefully

Cosmetic dentistry is also an increasingly worrying area, with procedures such as laser whitening and teeth straightening becoming more and more popular.

However, this boom in popularity is not evidence of a completely safe industry, as loose regulations again mean many dentists are carrying out work without having any specific qualifications, or experience of carrying out the procedures.

Last year, a survey conducted on our behalf revealed that despite 75 per cent of people being concerned about a lack of information around cosmetic surgery, close to half said they would still go through with a procedure. The most popular cosmetic work people would be happy to have was dentistry.

This demand has led to many dentists ‘cashing in’ on the boom without relevant experience, as there is no need for formal qualifications to carry out cosmetic work.

One of our clients found this out to her cost, as her veneers not only became discoloured months before her wedding, but twice cracked when she was eating.

It was only then that she discovered her teeth and gums were badly damaged as a result of the poor work of her dentist, and that it would cost her more than £7,000 – and five months of treatment – to put right.

It is therefore important to ask a dentist what experience and qualifications they have, how often they perform the cosmetic procedure in question, the common risks of the procedure, and what process is in place should something go wrong? Only go ahead with the work should you feel confident in all of these areas.

Look out for tell-tale signs of poor dental care

We’ve also represented clients who, despite religiously seeing dentists for years for check-ups and treatment, are still left suffering with gum disease and needing the removal of teeth.

Such problems can often only be discovered after a particular dentist retires or leaves. Many are left with widespread gum disease and the need to have a large number of teeth removed and replaced, at high cost.

Tell-tale signs of poor care could be a sudden need for a change in treatment, or the sudden need to remove a number of teeth.

In such a situation, it is important to ask questions as to why, given a history of treatment and assessments, such a change in a course of treatment has been required. If answers are not forthcoming, it could be worth seeking an independent opinion.

Equally, we have handled many cases where dentists have failed to inform patients of all options, often pushing them down the route of unnecessary, expensive treatment which has caused problems later down the line.

It may sound like scare-mongering, but it isn’t. Our work tells us dentists can’t always be relied upon to ensure your teeth and your oral hygiene are in the best health.

The message is, before you have your check-up at a dentist, do your own check-up on their background, the qualifications, and if you are having cosmetic work, their experience, training and cover.

 

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18/03/2016 No Comments

£540,000 compensation paid to Hudgell Solicitors’ clients in past 12 months for sub-standard dentistry

Dental Negligence | Dental equipment for claims


According to the results of numerous surveys in recent years, the thing most people look at first when judging the appearance of others is their teeth.

Seven in 10 people said they looked for a nice smile in their ideal partner in one recent survey, while only 40 per cent said they looked for a good physique.

In the same survey, more than half of men said they notice a woman’s teeth first, and that a nice white smile was key to finding someone attractive.

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08/10/2015 No Comments

You won’t be smiling if you fail to check-up on the risks of teeth whitening

smile with teeth


The desire to have a ‘celebrity smile’ has made teeth whitening one of the most popular cosmetic treatments in the UK at present.

But should you scrimp on paying for a proper procedure by a qualified professional, smiling may be the last thing you feel like doing.

Recent research has suggested that many people are putting themselves at risk by choosing not to have the work carried out by a registered dental professional.

Instead, people are turning to unqualified beauty salons and therapists, who have seen the opportunity to cash in on the latest cosmetic trend.

According to a 5 Live Investigates report, The General Dental Council (GDC) has prosecuted 24 people this year – more than the entire of last year – for illegally offering teeth whitening services.

Unqualified to carry the work out themselves, some have been found to be selling teeth whitening kits – for as little as £50 – before talking customers through the procedure and allowing them to do it themselves.

Under the Dentists Act 1984, it’s illegal for anyone other than dentists or dental health professionals such as hygienists to carry out teeth whitening, and for very good reason.

Whilst the procedure is perfectly safe when carried out by a registered professional, as hydrogen peroxide is used to bleach teeth, permanent damage can be caused to teeth and gums, and chemical burns can be caused if mistakes are made.

The British Dental Association (BDA) has been clear in warning that anyone other than dental professionals won’t have the right training or knowledge, but with research suggesting that more than a third of adults have considered having their teeth whitened, more and more are making the mistake of not checking the legitimacy of those carrying out the work.

Those found to be breaking the law can, of course, face prosecution, and may be ordered to pay other costs including compensation to victims.

Unfortunately, through our work in supporting victims of dental negligence at Hudgell Solicitors, we all too often see how the dental profession is open to abuse by those looking to cash in on such trends.

We also see many patients who find themselves struggling to make claims for compensation following sub-standard treatment, as there is no legal requirement for dentists to have professional insurance.

We advise people to take great care and consideration when considering cosmetic dental work.

Firstly, make sure you choose a registered dentist, and ensure that they are qualified and have experience in the exact procedure you require (some take on procedures they have little experience in).

Most importantly, check that the dentist you use has insurance cover, as the pain will only be made worse by the possibility of having to foot the bill for any remedial work should anything go wrong.

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22/09/2015 No Comments

Are we rushing into dental procedures?

dental check up


Recent studies have found that British women spend up to £100,000 on cosmetics in their lifetime, and so it comes as no surprise that many are now turning to cosmetic procedures for a more permanent alternative.

Despite 75% of people being concerned about a lack of information around cosmetic surgery, close to half say they would still go through with a procedure – even though the industry is notorious for being loosely regulated.

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21/09/2015 No Comments

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