Dental negligence compensation
If you've received negligent treatment from a dentist within the past three years, you could make a dental negligence claim with the help of a no win no fee solicitor.
How Much Could You Claim?

Dental Negligence Claims

Many people fear going to the dentist, although most dental procedures are effective and carried out safely. However, when a medical professional does not fully observe their duty of care, the consequences can be significant and result in lifelong physical and emotional damage.

Anybody who has been left in a worse position for having visited the dentist, through no fault of their own, is likely to be entitled to claim dental negligence compensation. Medical negligence solicitors have significant experience in this field and can guide you through the process and possible outcomes of making a claim.

To find out if you can make a dental negligence claim, call 0800 032 3660 today or request a call back for a free consultation without any obligation to proceed. This service is a great opportunity for you to find out if you are entitled to compensation and ask any questions you may have about the process.

Am I eligible to start a no win no fee dentist negligence claim?

If you have suffered an injury after visiting the dentist, you may have grounds to seek compensation. You can find out if your case has merit through a free consultation with a dental negligence solicitor. They will be able to determine whether you fulfil the main criteria you need to meet for making a claim:

  • Duty of care refers to the responsibility of all medical professionals to provide a reasonable standard of care. It means they have a responsibility to act in a manner that is reasonably expected of someone with their level of training and expertise. It includes providing accurate diagnoses, delivering appropriate treatment and ensuring patient safety. They must also be able to foresee and mitigate any potential risks and complications.
  • A breach of duty occurs when your dental treatment has fallen below the standard you could reasonably expect. It means that they did not fulfil their duty to provide competent and professional treatment, causing you harm or injury. Their work will be compared to other dentists of similar skill and knowledge to determine if it fell below the accepted standard.
  • Causation refers to the direct relationship between your dentist’s breach of duty and the injury you suffered and can be complex to prove. Your solicitor may need expert evidence to establish a connection between the negligence and the harm you suffered. That may involve reviewing your medical records, obtaining opinions from dental experts, and considering any pre-existing conditions or factors that could have contributed to the injury.
  • Damages refer to the harm and financial losses you have suffered due to dental negligence. You will need proof of all the losses incurred, such as medical expenses, loss of income, cost of further treatment, pain and suffering. If you make a successful dental negligence claim, you can claim compensation for your injuries and related financial losses from the insurance company of the dentist responsible.

If the defendant can show that your injuries would have occurred regardless of the negligence, your claim could be unsuccessful. That is why you should always seek legal advice from an experienced dental negligence solicitor. They will conduct a thorough assessment of your case and consult with independent experts to verify whether you are eligible for compensation.

What is considered to be dental negligence?

Like all medical staff, dentists have a duty of care to carry out treatments and procedures safely and in hygienic and controlled environments. Although most dental services are completed with no complications, dentists and dental staff occasionally make mistakes or oversights, which result in injury or loss to the patient.

If you have suffered from any physical, emotional or material loss because of the actions of a dentist or dental staff, you may be eligible to claim personal injury compensation.

There are several ways in which your dentist may have acted negligently. Dental negligence solicitors are experienced in securing compensation for a wide variety of dental claim types. Some of the most common cases include:

Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis refers to situations where a dentist fails to identify or diagnose a dental condition or issue that should have been reasonably recognised. This type of negligence can have significant consequences for patients, leading to prolonged suffering, unnecessary pain, and potentially worsening dental problems. Examples include:

  • Failing to identify tooth decay or cavities during routine examinations
  • Overlooking signs of gum disease, such as gingivitis or periodontitis
  • Misinterpreting dental X-rays or imaging results
  • Failing to detect oral infections or abscesses
  • Misdiagnosing oral cancer or other serious dental conditions
  • Ignoring or dismissing patient complaints or symptoms, resulting in delayed treatment

Improper dental practice

If your dentist carries out a procedure without using the appropriate tools, methods, pain relief, or observing proper hygiene practices, it can result in permanent and irreparable damage. In such cases, you may be eligible to make a dental negligence claim and receive compensation for the harm caused. This also applies to the conduct of the dentist. If you believe you were inadequately prepared or informed about your treatment, you can include this in your claim.

Careless treatment

Dentists can make mistakes, and these errors can have serious consequences. They may accidentally extract the wrong tooth, cause damage to neighbouring teeth or gums, or harm the mouth during a dental procedure. While some mishaps may be minor and relatively harmless, others can result in significant damage and emotional distress.

Inadequate completion of treatment

If a dentist fails to fully complete the required treatment, such as fillings or crowns, your condition can worsen, resulting in further pain, treatment and costs. Furthermore, if aftercare treatment is overlooked, your dentist will not have fulfilled their duty of care to you.

Emotional distress

Victims of dental negligence may suffer psychological harm and emotional distress due to their traumatic experiences. They have the right to seek compensation for the mental and emotional illnesses caused by such trauma. When a dentist lacks awareness of their interactions or makes errors that lead to emotional distress, it can affect your confidence, trust, and willingness to seek future dental care.

Prescription errors

Dentists will often prescribe pain relief, antibiotics and other medicines related to dental care. If your dentist prescribes the wrong medication or fails to provide the necessary treatment, this can result in increased pain, heightened symptoms of pre-existing conditions and multiple side effects. If you have experienced adverse symptoms from taking the wrong medicine because of the fault of your dentist, you could pursue a dental claim.

To prove liability, your solicitor will ask for a thorough account of your case. They will gather copies of your dental records, subsequent medical reports and prescriptions and any related receipts or proof of your losses. Once they have built a strong case against your dental practitioner, your injury lawyer will work hard to negotiate the highest compensation award they can on your behalf.

Common reasons for starting a dental negligence claim

The term dental negligence describes treatment or care that falls below the reasonable standard expected from a competent medical professional. There are several common reasons why individuals may seek dental negligence compensation, including:

  • The damaging of healthy teeth during an extraction
  • The dentist extracted the wrong tooth
  • Failure to diagnose a dental condition on time
  • Inadequate dental implants that have caused damage to the jawbone
  • Excessive pain caused by wisdom tooth extraction
  • Permanent nerve damage leading to speech problems or loss of taste
  • Fillings that were poorly fitted or led to an infection due to poor hygiene
  • Allergic reactions to anaesthesia or medication
  • Unnecessary root canal treatment
  • Poorly performed cosmetic dentistry, such as incorrectly fitted braces, crowns or veneers
  • Failure to obtain informed consent before a procedure

These are just a few examples of dentist negligence that could entitle you to compensation. If you feel you may have a valid claim, you should speak to an experienced dental negligence solicitor as soon as possible to determine your legal options.

How do you prove dental negligence?

If you have suffered an avoidable injury due to dental negligence and want to claim compensation, you will need evidence to prove a breach of duty, causation and damages. Based on your circumstances, this could be:

  • Your dental records and x-rays, which will show your diagnosis, the treatments you received and the related injuries and complications that occurred
  • Statements from any witnesses that were present during or after your dental treatment and can assert how the negligence has affected your life
  • Medical reports that document the extent of the harm or injury caused by the dental negligence, including any necessary corrective procedures or ongoing treatment
  • Reports from dental experts who can evaluate the treatment provided and offer professional opinions on whether the standard of care was breached
  • Photos of any visible injuries you have suffered, such as cuts, lacerations or broken teeth
  • Records of financial losses incurred as a result, such as medical expenses, additional treatments or lost wages
  • Your statement about how you received negligent treatment and how it has affected your health and well-being

After your solicitor collects all the evidence needed to build a strong case, they will send the defendant a formal letter of claim. The defendant will then have 14 days to acknowledge your claim and another three months to investigate the case and give you a response.

If they admit liability, your solicitor can begin to negotiate your dental negligence compensation with their insurer. If they deny responsibility, you may have to take legal action and argue your case before a judge. They will look at the evidence provided and decide whether you are entitled to compensation or not. More than 95% of all claims settle out of court, so it is unlikely you will have to go through a formal trial.

Can I claim for dentist negligence against the NHS?

Yes, it is possible to start a dental negligence claim against an NHS dentist. If they were negligent in their duty of care and caused you an avoidable injury or the aggravation of a pre-existing condition, you could have grounds to make a claim.

It is essential to note that the process for claiming against the NHS may differ from claims against private dental practitioners. That is because all NHS cases are handled by their own specialist insurance company, NHS Resolution. NHS Resolution was set up by the UK Government and is part of the Department of Health and Social Care.

Every NHS Trust in the UK must pay an annual premium to ensure coverage for medical negligence compensation. The funds used to compensate victims of NHS dental negligence come from these premiums and will not affect the resources dedicated to patient care and treatment. You can have peace of mind knowing that the compensation awarded to you is separate and distinct from the funding allocated for healthcare services.

Can I make a dental negligence claim against a private practice?

Regardless of whether you choose to receive private treatment or utilise NHS dental services, you have the right to receive an equal standard of care. As a dental patient, you have the following rights:

  • To be fully informed about your dental treatment, including the purpose, risks, benefits, and alternatives;
  • You should have the opportunity to ask questions and make informed decisions about your oral health;
  • Be treated with respect, dignity and without discrimination;
  • You have the right to receive dental treatment that meets professional standards of care;
  • Dental professionals should use appropriate techniques, materials, and equipment to ensure your safety and well-being;
  • You have the right to privacy during your dental treatment;
  • Be informed about the cost of any necessary dental procedures;
  • If you have concerns or complaints about your dental care, you have the right to express them and have them addressed in a timely and appropriate manner.

If your private dentist has failed to observe your rights and you received substandard care or treatment, you might be able to make a dental claim against them.

According to the rules set out by the General Medical Council, private healthcare providers must have liability insurance in place to cover any claims made against them. In this case, your solicitor will communicate with their insurance provider to secure the compensation you deserve.

Can I make a dental negligence compensation claim on behalf of someone else?

If a loved one has suffered an injury due to dental negligence, you might want to help make things right. There are some instances in which you might be able to claim for dental negligence on behalf of someone else, including:

  • If the person who suffered the negligence is a minor
  • If the claimant is mentally incapacitated and unable to manage their affairs
  • In cases where dentist negligence has resulted in wrongful death
  • When there is a language barrier, and the injured person’s first language is not English

To be able to represent someone in a dental negligence claim, your solicitor must apply with the court for you to be appointed as their litigation friend. For this, you will usually have to fill in and file some documents with the court, including:

  • A certificate of service which provides the name and address of the person you intend to represent
  • A certificate of suitability which affirms that you are suitable to represent the injured party and that you can effectively and fairly handle their case without any conflicts of interest

By following the appropriate procedures and submitting these documents to the court, you can become a litigation friend and proceed with representing the individual in their dental negligence claim. This can be a long-term commitment which brings several duties and responsibilities, such as:

  • Attend court hearings
  • Deal with correspondence
  • Instruct solicitors and take legal advice
  • Act in the best interests of the person you are representing
  • Make sure they attend all medical appointments
  • Make decisions about the claim
  • Pay any fees requested by the court
  • Carefully consider any compensation offers from the defendant

Being a litigation friend carries significant responsibilities, and it is essential to approach the role with care and diligence. Consulting with a legal professional can help you understand and fulfil your obligations effectively.

How long do I have to start a claim for dental negligence?

The time limits for initiating legal claims are defined by the Limitation Act 1980. The typical limitation period to start a dental negligence claim is three years, starting from either:

  • The date when you received the negligent treatment
  • The date you became aware, or should have reasonably become aware of the dental negligence, known as the date of knowledge

There are exceptions to this general rule in certain circumstances, such as:

  • If the case involves a minor, the three-year time limit begins on their 18th birthday, at which point they legally become an adult. A parent or legal guardian could claim compensation for dental negligence on their behalf before that.
  • If the claim involves a vulnerable adult lacking mental capacity, there is no specific time limit for making a dental negligence claim. This includes anybody who suffers from:
    • An intellectual disability
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder
    • A mental health illness
    • A neurodegenerative disease
    • A stroke or traumatic brain injury
  • If the person later recovers mental capacity, the three-year period starts from the date of their recovery.
  • If you lost a loved one due to dental negligence, the three-year time limit to claim begins from the date of death. Alternatively, the limitation period may start upon the discovery of the negligence.
  • If you received negligent treatment abroad, how long you have to start a dental compensation claim might depend on the foreign country’s laws and could be shorter than in the UK.

Although three years might seem like plenty of time, you should contact a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible by calling free on 0800 032 3660 or using our online claim form.

Starting your claim earlier will usually make it easier to gather evidence, speak to witnesses and prepare a strong case. Furthermore, if there are no liability disputes, your solicitor could secure interim payments on your behalf. These payments are made before the final settlement or judgment is reached to cover immediate medical expenses, rehabilitation, or other necessary costs.

How much compensation will I receive for dental negligence?

The amount of compensation awarded to you will greatly depend upon your specific circumstances. It is your solicitor’s job to ensure you receive the maximum amount of damages available to you. To do this, they will gather a thorough and detailed understanding of your case, supported by evidence to prove liability and the extent of loss and suffering caused.

Your solicitor will aim to demonstrate that your dentist or associated staff did not meet their duty of care towards you and that you consequently suffered an injury or illness. Your settlement will cover two types of damages related to your injury:

General damages cover the subjective, non-monetary losses caused by the dentist’s negligence, such as:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Impacts on your ability to eat, speak or engage in social interactions
  • Loss of self-confidence

General damages are awarded based on factors such as the severity of the injury, its impact on your life and well-being, and any long-term effects. Previous case precedents and the Judicial College guidelines are considered when determining the appropriate compensation amount to award. For example, you could receive:

  • £1,020 to £1,600 for minor damage to teeth that can be corrected
  • £1,710 to £3,530 for trivial facial scarring
  • £2,200 to £3,950 for loss of a front tooth
  • £4,350 to £7,630 if two front teeth have been lost or severely damaged
  • £8,730 to £11,410 for loss or severe injury to several front teeth
  • Up to £38,130 for chronic, significant tooth pain, potentially due to an untreated abscess, that lasts for years
  • £6,460 to £8,730 for a simple jaw fracture with full recovery
  • £2,990 to £15,780 for fractures of the cheekbone
  • £19,200 to £24,990 for loss of taste
  • £23,150 to £59,860 for psychiatric damage that causes significant disability

Special damages refer to all the financial losses and expenses you incurred after the dental negligence. They are calculated based on actual evidence such as receipts, bank statements and wage slips, and could include:

  • The cost of dental treatments, surgeries, medications, and any other medical expenses related to the negligence
  • Rehabilitation and therapy costs, such as physiotherapy and counselling
  • Loss of past and future earnings if you had to take time off work
  • Transportation costs to and from dental appointments or specialist consultations
  • Costs associated with hiring help and assistance

An experienced solicitor can provide a realistic estimate of how much compensation you could be entitled to during your initial free consultation. For free legal advice, call 0800 032 3660 today or fill in our online claim form to receive a call back.

How long will my dental claim take?

The duration of a dental negligence case can vary depending on various factors, such as:

  • The complexity of the case
  • The extent of the injuries or damages
  • The cooperation of the parties involved
  • The amount of evidence and investigation required
  • Whether the other side admits liability
  • The value of the dental negligence compensation you are claiming
  • Whether you are claiming against the NHS or a private practice

It is tough to provide an exact timeframe as each case is unique. Your solicitor will aim to resolve your claim as efficiently and quickly as possible. Medical negligence cases are typically more complex and take longer to resolve than other personal injury claims. On average, processing a dental negligence claim takes between 12 and 18 months. If the case is particularly complex, settlement can take much longer.

Your solicitor will provide you with regular updates throughout the process and give you a better estimate of the expected timeline based on the specifics of your case. They will work diligently to handle your claim promptly while ensuring all necessary steps are taken to maximise your chances of a successful outcome.

What are the benefits of using a dental negligence solicitor?

Researching and comparing various legal firms to find the right one for your medical negligence claim can be time-consuming. However, we aim to provide clarity on why the solicitors we collaborate with are the perfect fit for your case. They possess extensive knowledge in dentistry and related issues and a proven track record of successfully handling dental negligence claims.

We understand that victims of dentist negligence should not endure further hardship, and your solicitor will prioritise a swift and efficient claims process. They will be there to support you at every stage, offering regular updates and delivering a friendly and professional service.

We firmly believe that financial concerns should not hinder deserving victims from seeking the compensation they are entitled to. Therefore, your dental negligence solicitor will be pleased to handle your claim on a no win no fee* basis. That means there are no upfront payments required, and if your case is not successful, you will not be charged anything. You only pay a pre-agreed fee upon a successful outcome of your claim.

The no win no fee service also ensures that you will not have to pay any expenses incurred during litigation, such as medical reports or expert witness fees. If your claim is successful, the other side will pay your costs. And if you lose, they will be covered by a legal expenses insurance policy known as After the Event (ATE) insurance, which is included in your no win no fee agreement.

To find out if you can start a dental negligence claim on a no win no fee basis, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 032 3660 for a free consultation with a legal adviser.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.