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Are we rushing into dental procedures?

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.

When it comes to considering cosmetic procedures and surgery, many people spend hours researching and exploring the options to assure themselves that they are making the right decision before going ahead with what could be a life changing procedure. Finding the appropriate treatment or procedure and a reputable clinic and practitioner are just some of the key considerations.

In contrast, cosmetic dentistry, such as teeth whitening, veneers or straightening techniques, tend to be seen as less of a calculated decision. You could argue that this is, perhaps, due to the lower cost involved, shorter recovery times, less invasive nature and shorter longevity of results involved, especially compared to other cosmetic procedures.

However, getting dental work done on a whim or impulse and without proper thought can come at a cost. In what is a very loosely regulated industry, dentists need no formal qualifications to carry out cosmetic work, although many do have evidence of training courses and can point to previous successful procedures.

“Any form of cosmetic surgery or dental procedures should be very carefully considered and researched. Is the person you are trusting the right doctor or dentist to carry out the work? Are they trained? Do they have a good track record and are they insured? These are all questions that patients need to ask” – Sarah Smith, litigation assistant at Hudgell Solicitors.

Therefore, it pays for customers to be extra vigilant when researching any potential procedures, and to assure that it is not something that they rush into. The checklists below highlight some of the important questions you need to ask yourself, the consultant and the practitioner.

Checklist: What to ask yourself before booking a consultation

  • Why are you considering the procedure? Is it a medical, cosmetic, or a personal influence?
  • What are your expectations from the procedure? Are these realistic?
  • Right now, can you afford it financially?
  • Do you know the expected recovery time? Can you commit to this?
  • Where are you planning to get the procedure done? Have you researched the medical credentials/record, qualifications and safety of your chosen consultant?

Checklist: What to ask your consultant and practitioner on your consultation day and on the day of the treatment

  • What experience and qualification does the medical practitioner who will be performing the procedure have?
  • How often do they perform the procedure in question? (Even the most reputable dentist might not have experience performing every type of procedure)
  • What are the common risks of the procedure?
  • What is the process should something go wrong? E.g. details of insurance.
  • What after-care is available should there be any issues post-treatment?

If you or a loved one has suffered poor treatment due to negligence and wish to take legal action, it is recommended that you seek the advice of a specialized solicitor who has experience in dealing with dental negligence claims.

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