Gone are the days when dental hygiene was treated as an afterthought.
Nowadays, whitened and perfectly straight teeth are becoming an important accessory in today’s increasingly photographed and media-exposed world. It is for this reason that cosmetic dentistry is so popular.
But, whilst the majority who leave the dentist’s chair do so with the perfect smile, sadly there are others who are left traumatised by their experience and with a result the opposite of what they had hoped for.
If you have ever undergone a cosmetic dentistry procedure that has worsened the state of your teeth, then it may be possible to make a cosmetic dentistry claim.
In this guide you’ll learn more about cosmetic dentistry claims. From finding out how to tell if your dentist was negligent to the first steps on making your claim, we’ve covered the key points you need to know.
What Are The Causes Of Cosmetic Dental Negligence?
Every case of cosmetic dental negligence falls under one of two categories, which are given as follows:
Poor Dental Procedures
Cases under this category happen when the dentist uses inadequate or wrong dental techniques. These incorrect techniques can result in severe complications such as an infection, abscess, tooth decay or serious toothache.
Misdiagnosis Of Dental Issues
These are cases where the dentist has incorrectly diagnosed the dental problem or fails to detect it when there is an issue.
In addition, the dentist might perform a dental procedure that is either wrong or totally unnecessary. Such misdiagnosis cases can worsen the issue or lead to further oral damage.
What Are The Common Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures That Result In Claims?
Most cosmetic dentistry claim usually involve one of the following procedures:
These are good for straightening crooked teeth. But if the braces are not well-maintained, monitored or are badly fitted, they can pose significant problems to the wearer when they are removed.
Even though this is a common procedure in cosmetic dentistry, it usually involves the use of lasers or chemicals to whiten the teeth. And this can eventually weaken the enamel and result in tooth decay.
If crowns are not fitted properly, they can damage the underlying teeth leading to infection and tooth decay.
Veneer application requires the front part of the tooth to be removed before the veneer is fitted on top. This application is quite delicate and should be done with extreme care.
If it is not done correctly, it can make the teeth extremely sensitive and/or eventually cause decay, which may later result in the need for the affected tooth/teeth to be extracted.
To make teeth straighter, there is a procedure that requires the gum to be altered. But if the gums are strained too far back, it can leave the root of the tooth exposed to decay.
What Are The Symptoms Of Poor Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures?
Since there are many types of cosmetic dentistry procedures, the symptoms can vary greatly. However, the most common symptoms of a cosmetic dentistry gone wrong are:
- Gum problems
- Swellings and cuts
- Infections or Abscess
- Excess bleeding
- Poor fittings that are hard to clean, traps food, or are constantly falling out
- Irritation or discomfort
How To Begin Your Cosmetic Dentistry Claim – 5 Steps To Follow
To ensure that your claim is successful, you should take the following actions:
1 Go To Your GP, The Hospital Or Another Dentist
You will need to document your injury to serve as evidence in court. And the best way to do this is to get your injury checked by another doctor/dental professional.
During treatment, your medical specialist will likely tell you how severe the injury is, how long it will take to heal, and if there will be any long-term complications. You can ask your doctor to include this information in your medical report.
2 Collate Your Evidence
If it is possible, get before and after pictures of the damaged teeth or gum. Dentistry x-rays of your now injured teeth should also be taken. In addition, your evidence kit should include the promotional flyers or literature advertising the procedure at the dental office.
3 Get The Other Party’s Details
Find out the details of the cosmetic dentistry clinic responsible for your injury. Get their address, phone number, and the contact details of the owner. Also get the contact details and qualifications of the dentist who performed the procedure on you. If any staff assisted the dentist, also get their details if it is possible.
4 Record The Financial Effect Of The Injury
You should keep records of all expenses that you incurred because of your injury.
These expenses could be as simple as buying pain-relieving medications or as costly as scheduling a corrective procedure with a different dental clinic.
In addition, if the injury caused a loss or reduction of income because you were unable to work, you should also note that down. As part of your compensation claim, if successful, you will be reimbursed for these expenses.
5 Consult A Solicitor
Now that you have all the elements for a successful claim, you should reach out to a solicitor. The solicitor will peruse through your documents and brief you on your chances. It is likely that the solicitor will want to take on the case if it looks like you have strong evidence. So ensure you choose an experienced solicitor that can help you get the maximum compensation amount.
How Long Will My Cosmetic Dentistry Claim Take?
The duration of time needed to conclude a compensation claim for cosmetic dentistry is not set in stone. It varies greatly.
Since a cosmetic dentistry claim falls under the wider area of medical negligence, it is likely to take between one and three years to conclude, on average. Basically, if your claim is simple, straightforward and uncontested, it can take 12 – 24 months to settle. Whilst for a case that is more complex, the claim might conclude in about two to three years.
Is There A Time Limit For Filing My Claim?
The law gives you a period of three years starting from the day of the original procedure to file a claim.
However, this is only applicable if you were aware of the damage on that same day. If you had the procedure done more than three years ago, you may still be eligible to file a claim if the damage attributed to it only came to light at a later stage.
In these circumstances, your three-year time limit will start to count from the date you were diagnosed with the injury.
Can I Make A Cosmetic Dentistry Claim For Someone Else?
There are special situations where you are allowed to file a claim on another person’s behalf, and they include:
- The injured person is below 18 years of age.
- The injured person is unable to file a claim themselves because of the severity of their injury.
- The injured person cannot make decisions for themselves because of a mental disability.
Starting Your Cosmetic Dentistry Claim
The after-effects of a substandard cosmetic dentistry procedure/treatment can severely affect your quality of life and incur additional financial expenses.
Fortunately, there is no reason to suffer this alone. Your compensation claim may allow you to get access to treatments that can effectively right the wrongs.
To help you start your claim you can arrange to speak to an experienced claims advisor, for free and with no obligation, using the form below.