Can I Sue My Dentist?

Reading time: 3 mins

Carrie Tennick, September 07, 2021

It’s an unlikely event, but not one that’s unheard of. You won’t be the only person who has needed to find out if they can sue their dentist.

If you’ve suffered harm as a result of their negligence, you could be able to sue your dentist. The compensation you could be entitled to could make your recovery process easier.

And if you’ve suffered from the sort of dental negligence that has meant you’re considering suing your dentist, you may have to pay for private treatment. That can be expensive, so your compensation could be hugely helpful.

Your dentist’s responsibilities

The General Dental Council (GDC) was founded to set and maintain standards across dentistry in the UK. It aims to protect dental patients by registering dentists, investigating complaints about dentists and ensuring dental education is of a high quality.

To belong to the GDC’s register, dentists must meet a set of standards. These are generally known as the nine principles. They are:

  • Communicate effectively with patients
  • Have a clear and effective complaints procedure
  • Maintain and protect patients’ information
  • Maintain, develop and work within their professional knowledge and skills
  • Make sure personal behaviour maintains patients’ confidence in both them and the dental profession
  • Obtain valid consent
  • Put patients’ interests first
  • Raise concerns if patients are at risk
  • Work with colleagues in a way that is in patients’ best interests

If your dentist has not met these standards, they may have been negligent. And if this happens and you are harmed, you may be able to sue your dentist.

What you could claim for

Dental negligence can take many different forms. Your dentist could have injured you in a number of ways through their negligence.

You may have experienced problems including:

  • Damage to your teeth or mouth during a procedure
  • Failure to diagnose oral cancer or other serious conditions
  • Failure to get your proper consent before a procedure
  • Substandard work, such as root canals, fillings or dental implants
  • Tooth extractions that went wrong or having the wrong tooth extracted

Can you sue an NHS dentist?

Yes. In cases of negligence that has caused you harm, you could sue an NHS dentist. These claims are handled by NHS Resolution, which is a separate organisation to the wider NHS with its own separate funding.

This means that by claiming compensation, you won’t be taking money directly from the NHS’ budget.

The process is slightly different if you want to sue a private dentist. They will have certain insurance policies in place. These will cover the cost of any claims made against them. As a result, you won’t be claiming directly from the dentist’s finances.

During a claim against a private dentist, your solicitor will deal with their insurer, rather than the dentist themselves. This is how most claims for other accidents work. It’s highly unlikely that you will have to face your dentist during your claim, which could offer some reassurance if you are worried about the process of claiming.

It may also help to know that very few dental negligence claims end up in court. Most claims are concluded before they ever reach that point.

How to sue your dentist

The right legal guidance could help you secure the compensation that can make your recovery easier.

To begin a claim, just get in touch with the team at First4Lawyers. You can do this by giving us a call for free or starting your claim online. We’ll then have an initial chat about your experience. If we think you have a claim, we’ll match you to one of our specialist medical negligence solicitors.

If they agree that you have a strong claim, they will usually take on your claim on a No Win No Fee basis. This means there is no financial risk to making a claim.

Your solicitor will then put together your case. They’ll need evidence to make your claim as strong as possible. This could include:

  • Medical reports
  • Photos or video of your injury or condition
  • Receipts and invoices from any expenses relating to your experience of dental negligence

They will then negotiate with the other side to get you the compensation you’re entitled to.

So if you think you’ve been the victim of negligence by your dentist that caused an injury, First4Lawyers could be able to help you.

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