Few dental procedures are as daunting as a tooth extraction. It involves placing a huge amount of trust in your dentist to perform it correctly. If your dentist then pulls out the wrong tooth, or perhaps more teeth than just the problem tooth, it can feel like a huge betrayal of that trust.
But the harm caused by a dentist extracting the wrong tooth can go far beyond that; there is the pain and anguish caused by the operation itself, the need for corrective procedures, the permanent loss of a potentially healthy tooth, and the even possibility of long-term damage.
In circumstances like these, it is not enough to simply get a refund or have the tooth extraction done all over again on the correct tooth. You may have suffered serious injury through the fault of your dentist, and it is not right to be left to live with the consequences uncompensated.
At Truth Legal, we can help you to claim compensation for the injuries and harm that your dentist’s negligence has caused you. We have specialist dental negligence solicitors, with extensive experience in this complicated area of law. This makes us ideally placed to help you to recover the compensation you deserve.
Speak to us today to begin your claim for a wrongful tooth extraction.
What can happen if my dentist has pulled the wrong tooth?
Many complications can occur following the extraction of a wrong tooth. If the original tooth which required extraction is still in your mouth then, at the least, the operation will need to be repeated to complete what should have been accomplished in the first place. This often means ‘doubling-up’ the pain and recovery times involve.
Long-term problems can also arise in some cases, including:
- Persistent pain and swelling
- Developing abscesses and infections
- Nerve damage
- Prolonged discomfort, particularly when talking or eating
- Damage to sinuses (after the removal of an upper molar)
- Change of position in your remaining teeth. When a tooth is removed it can affect the way that other teeth are supported. This can cause your teeth to gradually change position, possibly altering the alignment of your teeth, the position of your bite, and even the shape of your face in some cases.
Many of these complications can occur if your dentist has not planned for the extraction of a particular tooth. Anticipated problems and contingency plans for one tooth may be entirely different for another, and so by pulling out teeth beyond those originally intended, your dentist may expose you to greater and unforeseen risks.
Making a wrong tooth extraction claim
Making a claim for the incorrect extraction of a tooth will involve proving that your dentist’s care fell below the standards required of them, and that this caused you to suffer harm – harm for which you should be compensated.
On the face of it, pulling out the wrong tooth is a clear indication that you have received sub-standard care. It sounds like the equivalent of a surgeon cutting off the wrong arm! But you and your solicitors must still establish your claim, and you should be prepared for some objections from the dentist. Common objections include:
- The ‘wrong’ tooth needed extracting anyway – here you may need to rely on your own recollections and/or your dental records to confirm whether there were any prior problems in the extracted tooth. Even so, however, your dentist will have provided sub-standard care if the extraction of that particular tooth was done without your consent.
- The patient indicated that the ‘wrong’ tooth was the one which needed extracting – Even if this is true, it does not remove the responsibility on the dentist to make sure that the operation they are performing is justified from a healthcare perspective. If they have removed a perfectly healthy tooth simply because you pointed to it, they have fallen short of the care required by their professional duties.
What can I claim compensation for?
You can claim compensation for the injuries that you have suffered, as well as many other kinds of financial loss which the negligent tooth extraction has caused you.
With your injuries, the compensation you claim will be based upon two distinct aspects:
- The pain and suffering your injuries have caused to you; and
- What the injuries have prevented you from doing, or enjoying, in normal life.
For example, the wrongful tooth extraction might have caused you pain for a month (the first of the aspects above), but also altered the shape of your mouth in a way which makes chewing difficult. These long-term effects would be taken into account in the injury claim under the second aspect as your enjoyment of life will have been affected by the injury.
As for other losses, the wrongful extraction of a tooth will almost certainly lead you to incur expenses for corrective treatment. These may include costs for:
- Removing the correct tooth
- Fitting dental implants (including expenses for their future maintenance – e.g. re-crowning them after certain periods)
- Treatment of any serious problems which a wrongful extraction can cause (e.g. repairing damage to sinuses).
Other financial losses can also follow easily from your injuries and your dentist’s negligent treatment. Some common examples would be:
- Travel expenses – For journeys made necessary by the negligent procedure, such as attending appointments for further treatment.
- Loss of earnings – Where your injuries have caused you to miss work or otherwise lose out on income.
- Care and assistance – Where friends, family, or healthcare professionals have been required to help you in your daily life.
These are just some of the losses which can usually be included in a dental negligence claim. In general, you can claim compensation for losses which have been incurred as a ‘reasonably foreseeable’ consequence of your injury.
How much compensation will I receive for a wrong tooth extraction claim?
The honest answer is: it depends. And you won’t get an answer that honest from any ‘Claims Calculators’ or other marketing gimmicks. The compensation you claim will be based entirely on the injuries you have suffered and the losses you have incurred. As such, any average payout figures are also going to be of limited usefulness.
But it is natural to be curious about this and so the best way to get an idea of compensation amounts is to speak to a solicitor about your unique situation.
Making a ‘No Win, No Fee’ wrong tooth extraction claim
You may be worried about how your claim would be funded. However, under an arrangement called a ‘No Win, No Fee’ Agreement you can avoid the risk of having to pay fees in the event that your claim is unsuccessful.
The terms of the agreement mean that, in the vast majority of situations, you will not have to pay our legal costs if we cannot recover compensation for you.
If we are successful, a small percentage of your compensation award will go towards our fees, with most of the costs being paid through your dentist’s indemnifier.
Funding is always something which we will discuss with you in full before your claim begins. However, if you have any queries about this, please get in touch so that we can explain matters further.
Contact Truth Legal
There is no substitute for having skilled and experienced solicitors working on your claim. Dental negligence claims involve a high-level of specialist knowledge, and to give your claim its best chances of success, you need to instruct legal representatives with this expertise.
Contact Truth Legal today to discuss your case with a solicitor specialising in dental negligence claims. There will be no pressure on you to proceed further if you do not wish to, and our initial consultations are completely free.