February 18, 2014

Former model awarded cash sum to correct dentist’s errors

A former model has been awarded a cash sum to pay for dental work to restore her two upper front teeth which were seriously damaged as a result of inappropriate treatment.

Alicia Lovegrove, aged 33, of Warsash, Southampton, brought a claim for compensation after what should have been a straightforward procedure to fit porcelain veneers, went wrong.

Her case was handled by former dentist-turned-solicitor, Dr Chris Evans, a dental negligence specialist based at law firm Withy King.

[caption id="attachment_2813" align="alignright" width="284"]Alicia Lovegrove Pictured: Alicia Lovegrove[/caption]

Alicia explained: “I went to see the dentist about a filling in one of my front teeth. She suggested I have veneers fitted to improve the appearance of my teeth. I was on maternity leave at the time which meant I could have the treatment for free. I wasn’t sure but the dentist was very persuasive.

“The initial treatment lasted two hours and was extremely painful. Temporary veneers were fitted but they came off overnight, leaving the stumps of my two front teeth exposed. The pain was excruciating. I went on to have the veneers refitted several times but they kept coming off.”

It turned out that Alicia’s teeth had been significantly over-prepared and that the wrong veneers had been fitted, with the left veneer having been placed on the right tooth, and the right veneer on the left tooth.

Dr Evans said: “This procedure should have been quick and pain free, with minimal drilling and a very small reduction in the enamel. Instead, Alicia’s dental records show that she was subjected to prolonged and very painful treatment which resulted in the enamel and dentine – the layer next to the nerve – having been drilled away, leaving her with highly sensitive ‘stumps.’ The ongoing treatment proved to be ineffective too.

“We investigated Alicia’s claim and successfully negotiated a financial settlement for her which will help to pay for ongoing, restorative work. She will need a crown on her upper left front tooth as well as root canal treatment and replacement crowns in the future.”

Alicia, who is married and has a three-year-old daughter, added: “This whole thing has been a nightmare. I went in for a filling and was talked into an alternative procedure which has changed my life. It’s been hugely disruptive having to go backwards and forwards to the dentist and the pain has been absolutely horrendous. I now feel paranoid about my appearance which is a real problem for me in my role as a sales executive, when part of my job involves visiting clients and being friendly and confident. This has affected so many areas of my life and I’d hate anyone to go through what I’ve gone through.”

Alicia’s claim was brought against Dr Faiza Rana and centred on treatment she received in December 2011 and January 2012 at The Burridge Dental Practice, Burridge, Southampton. Dr Rana has since left the practice.

Law firm Withy King, which handled Alicia’s claim, has seen a significant increase in enquiries from dental patients who have experienced problems as a result of sub-standard dentistry. The firm now handles up to 40 new enquiries a month – almost double the number it handled 12 months ago.

This rise supports recent reports of increased dental claims across the UK. The DDU, the specialist division of the Medical Defence Union, recently reported a 32 per cent increase in dental claims files being opened in 2012 and a 12.5 per cent increase in dental advisory cases which are mostly linked to complaints.

The General Dental Council (GDC) last year reported a 44 per cent increase in new cases received during 2012/13.

Dr Chris Evans of Withy King commented: “There are many different reasons for the steady increase in the number of complaints and claims against dentists and dental practices. On the one hand, patients are more aware of their rights and less likely to put up with poor dental treatment, complaints aren’t always dealt with effectively at an early stage when they have an opportunity to put things right and overall, complaints and claims are better documented than ever before.

“However, there is also a genuine sense that there is more sub-standard dentistry taking place, with some dental professionals calling for a complete overhaul of NHS dentistry in England and Wales.

“If patients have any concerns about the dental treatment they have received, they should discuss them with their dentist in the first instance. If their concerns aren’t addressed and problems persist, they should ask for advice from a solicitor who specialises in dental negligence.”

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