£50,000 recovered for long term dental neglect

Our client, a 59 year old woman from Tonbridge, Kent, suffered significant dental problems as a consequence of her dentist failing to adequately treat her from around 1983.

Our client had been a regular attendee on the dentist, and cleaned her teeth regularly, following any guidance she was given.

However, her dentist failed to undertake proper investigations relating to her periodontal condition (her gum health) throughout the entire period that she was his patient, and failed to provide any proper hygienist treatment.

That resulted in our client suffering from chronic adult periodontitis, which went undetected and untreated, causing the erosion of bone stock in the jaw/mouth and a lack of support for her teeth.

This culminated in our client attending on her dentist in June 2011 with loose teeth. However, still nothing was done until she re-attended in March 2012. Our client was then referred urgently for periodontal treatment, but it was too late to prevent the loss of teeth.

As a result of the failure to prevent, detect and treat our client’s chronic adult periodontitis, our client required an intensive course of periodontal treatment, lost 3 teeth, and will likely lose a number of further teeth and require extensive restorative dentistry using implants / bridges / etc (although the future treatment requirements are to some extent still unknown).

Following investigations, a formal Letter of Claim was submitted, but the Defendant failed to respond. Despite extensions being agreed, they continued to fail to respond, such that Court proceedings were issued.

Immediately upon issuing Court proceedings, the Defendant made an offer of £50,000 which, given the uncertainty as to the future treatment requirements, was accepted by our client.

Alex Tengroth, who had conduct of the claim, commented:

I am pleased that this matter eventually settled for a good amount, which will allow my client to pay for the restorative dentistry she now requires.

This was a very clear case of negligence, which was set out clearly within the Letter of Claim, but which the Defendant never formally responded to. Instead, after many months of delaying, they finally made an offer to settle, but only after their conduct had forced us to issue Court proceedings.

It is unfortunately a common problem that the conduct of the Defendant forces up the cost of the litigation unnecessarily, and it is something that urgently needs to be addressed and rectified in the current era of costs proportionality.”