Last week Citizens Advice reported an increase in patients in dispute with their dentists. The charity saw 354 cases last year in which dentists refused to fix their mistakes, in turn costing patients hundreds of pounds. Citizens Advice dealt with 4000 dental care problems last year, 9% up from the year before, covering both NHS and private practises.
People reported dentists cracking healthy teeth during a treatment, fillings that came out and dentures that didn’t fit. In one case, a patient paid thousands of pounds for a crown that didn’t fit, couldn’t be removed and led to the patient’s face being bruised in the process.
In another case, a woman in her 70s paid £500 to have her teeth capped but the dentist chipped her two front teeth during the treatment. When the dentist didn’t offer a repair for the chipped teeth, or any compensation she changed dentist and had to pay a further £700 to get the damage fixed.
In around a quarter of cases, patients said the dentist refused to offer a refund or a free of charge repair.
Citizens Advice is asking dentists to follow the rules by correcting their mistakes free of charge instead of passing costs onto patients.
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice said:
“While many people get a good service from their dentist, some patients are having treatments that leave them with a new problem like a loose or painful filling or healthy teeth that have been cracked.”
Under the Consumer Rights Act, private dental patients whose treatment hasn’t been carried out with reasonable care are entitled to have any problems fixed by their dentist. If a problem can’t be fixed, they have a right to get at least a partial refund. NHS patients who get treatments such as fillings, inlays or crowns are also entitled to have this repaired or replaced within 12 months at no extra charge.
When trying to bring about a claim of dental negligence it is crucial you report the incident at the earliest opportunity by placing an initial complaint directly to the practice and contacting an experienced medical negligence solicitor. Reporting the incident early will significantly increase your chance of making a successful claim.
Here at Farleys our specialist Dental Negligence team are experts in this area of law, successfully securing compensation and medical care for clients who have suffered dental negligence. For a free initial claim assessment contact Farleys Solicitors on 0845 287 0939 or alternatively please complete an online enquiry form.