Wrong Tooth Extraction – How on Earth does it Happen?
It sounds amazing that your dentist could possibly extract a wrong healthy tooth but sadly this is not so rare.
It appears the main reason for wrong tooth extraction is down to careless clinical errors and poor communication among Dentists and their staff.
For example the tooth notation system that dentists use can lead to mistakes being made. Any mix ups can have far reaching consequences.
It follows that in many cases these mistakes are caused through a lack of care and an unncessary and avoidable risk.
The implications of the wrong tooth being extracted can far reaching physically, psychologically and financially.
It’s easy to see how these types of claims can be worth significant amounts both interms of past and future losses.
How Common is Wrong Tooth Extraction?
A recent study has concluded that hundreds of patients have had the wrong teeth extracted out over the past few years.
Researchers from the University Dental Hospital of Manchester have reviewed tooth extraction in England over the period of 2015 to 2019. During this time nearly 150 healthy teeth were extracted in error.
The researchers found that most of these mistakes were carried out while the patients were in hospital. It has been reported that a whole host of Hospial Trusts right across the country have patients who have suffered wrong tooth extractions.
Rather worryingly the reasearcher concerend, Dr Mike Pemberton, commented that the numbers involved are likley to be much higher on the grounds reporting systems are “complex and obtuse”.
It’s true that in the overwhelming majority of cases the dentists get it right.
But it seems there are a significant number of wrong tooth extractions which by defintion are avoidable.
How to Prove Wrong Tooth Extraction?
There are a number of hurdles you need to be able to demonstrate including:
- There was a recognised patient-dentist relationship where a duty of care was owed to you by the dentist;
- The treating dentist failed to discharge their ordinary duty of care towards you. This means the dentist acted in a way that fell below the requisite standard of care when compared to other dental professionals;
- The dentist’s failure resulted in some sort of loss or harm to you. (This is almost certainly going to be a formality in this context.)
What Action should You take if You Believe a Mistake has been Made?
First of all you need to be 100% sure that the wrong tooth has been extracted.
It maybe that your dentist will have already advised you about the mistake in which case this makes things much easier.
If there is any doubt then it may be necessary for you to be seen by an independent dentist who is able to see you and review your records.
Once you have established that the wrong tooth has been removed then it should be a straight forward case of quantifying your claim.
Your solicitor will be able to run through in some detail all the possible heads of compensation.
This is where you need to be able to rely on your solicitor’s experience and expertise.
On a practical level you should consider the following:
- It is important that your records reflect the mistake that has been made. So as far as possible you need to ensure you engage your dentist about what has happened and discuss the options avaiable to you in terms of corrective treatment;
- Make notes to ensure you have a full and accurate chronology running throught the sequence of events noting down any important conversations after the negligent treatment;
- Remember to keep a record of all the expenses you have incurred as a consequence of the error.
What Losses can You Recover?
The whole idea of the compensation system is to put the Claimant in the same position they would have been in had the wrong tooth extraction not occurred.
So what are the possible heads of loss when things go wrong?
- Any medical or dental expenses for example the costs of an implant to replace the healthy tooth (clearly this in itself will not be cheap);
- Future anticipated treatment costs will also need to be carefully built into your claim. This future loss may well add up to a significant amount to take into account the implants that will be required over your lifetime;
- Compensation for your pain and suffering. Unfortunately the pain arising from the first extraction is going to have been completely unecessary;
- Loss of earnings if the wrong tooth extraction has resulted in you having to take time off work.
How Much is Your Claim Worth?
We have set out below the amount of compensation you are likely to receive by the Courts.
The figures below are copied from the 15th Edition of the Judicial College guidelines and reveal the brackets of damages.
The Courts will consider the nature and extent of your injury before deciding where in the relevant bracket compensation.
In these cases there will generally have been a course of treatment as a result of the initial injury. The amounts awarded will vary according to the extent and/or the degree of discomfort of such treatment. Any difficulty with eating increases the award. These cases may overlap with fractures of the jaw, meriting awards in the brackets for such fractures. Awards may be greater where the damage results in or is caused by protracted dentistry.
Significant, chronic, tooth pain (such as from an untreated abscess) extending over a number of years together with significant general deterioration in the overall condition of teeth:
Up to £32,540
(i) Loss of or serious damage to several front teeth.
£7,460 to £9,740
(ii) Loss of or serious damage to two front teeth.
£3,710 to £6,510
(iii) Loss of or serious damage to one front tooth.
£1,880 to £3,370
No Win No Fee for Your Wrong Tooth Extraction Claim?
- We know over many years of experience that clients can worry about the possibility of having to pay legal costs.
- This is why we make sure that our clients have no reason to worry and we offer a genunine “No Win No Fee” service.
- This means if for any reason your claim doesn’t succeed there are no fees to pay – guaranteed!
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