If you have suffered an injury or disfigurement because of the negligence of a dentist, you could be entitled to claim for dental negligence.*
The Medical Practitioners Act 2007 includes dentists as legally recognised medical practitioners in Ireland. They are required to practice dentistry to the highest medical standard. Because dentists are considered medical practitioners, you will have to pursue your claim through a solicitor, as it will not be possible to lodge a dental negligence claim with the Injuries Board.
Dental negligence claims arise when a person’s teeth are injured because of dental treatment or their appearance has been affected due to dental malpractice.
Cosmetic dentistry claims
The purpose of cosmetic dentistry is to enhance the appearance of the mouth, teeth and smile. Cosmetic dentistry is usually an elective procedure - in other words, you choose to have the procedure. If you believe you were the victim of cosmetic dental negligence, you should engage a solicitor to discuss your options. Examples of cosmetic dentistry procedures include:
- Teeth whitening
Nerve damage claims
Nerve damage is one of the injuries that can occur through dental negligence. This damage can be long-lasting. You may be able to claim for financial damages if you believe your nerve damage occurred through your dentist’s failure to provide necessary dental care, failure to diagnose an illness or condition, incorrect dental work, or substandard work.
Oral cancer claims
Undiagnosed mouth cancer can lead to serious illness or death. Your dentist is more likely than your doctor to diagnose mouth cancer, so they should look for signs of mouth cancer at every check-up. If your dental practitioner fails to diagnose mouth cancer or ignores symptoms of mouth cancer, you may be able to make a dental negligence claim.
Symptoms of oral cancer may include:
- Difficulty moving the jaw
- Chronic mouth pain
- Pain swallowing
- Unexplained weight loss
- Changes in voice or speech
- Numbness or bleeding in the mouth
- Inflamed tissue
- Chronic ulcers
- Unexplained lumps
- Unexplained looseness of teeth
Periodontal disease claims
Gum disease appears as an inflammation of the gums and is caused by plaque building up on the teeth. Gums may bleed during teeth-brushing, and bad breath (halitosis) may occur. Without timely treatment, gum disease can damage the bone fastening the teeth to the jaw. This is known as periodontal disease.
Teeth may loosen and fall out, and the patient can suffer severe pain and discomfort. If you attend regular dental checkups and your dentist fails to diagnose gum disease or periodontal disease, you may be able to make a periodontal disease claim.
Restorative dentistry claims
Restorative dentistry involves repairing teeth that have been damaged or decayed using the likes of fillings, crowns, and bridges. Many restorative dentistry procedures are necessary because a dental practitioner failed to diagnose tooth decay in the first instance.
Any of the following cases could lead to a valid restorative dentistry claim:
- Poorly executed fillings that leave decay in the treated tooth
- Improper cleaning of the cavity before filling
- Untreated decay
- Filling the wrong tooth
- Extracting a tooth unnecessarily