Patients Left Out Of Pocket After Being Forced To Pay For Mistakes Made By Dentists

Dental Negligence Experts Say Patients Need To Be Made Aware Of Their Rights


Kate Rawlings, Press Officer | 0114 274 4238

Dental negligence experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell say patients need to be better informed about their rights after research showed some are paying out hundreds of pounds to fix mistakes made by dentists.

Citizens Advice said it is receiving an increasing amount of enquiries regarding problems with both NHS and private dentistry– with some claims that dentists are refusing to fix their errors.

The charity helped around 4,000 dental care problems from people across England and Wales last year, which was a 9 per cent increase on the previous year.

Substandard service was the biggest issue between 2015 and 2016. An analysis of 354 cases revealed that around 75 per cent involved treatment that caused the patient problems further down the line.

Problems included dentists cracking healthy teeth during treatment, fillings that came out and ill-fitting dentures.

One case saw a patient pay thousands of pounds for a crown that did not fit and could not be removed, which left their face bruised.

In 23 per cent of these cases, patients claimed that the dentists had refused to offer a refund or a free-of-charge repair, despite the rules dictating they should.

In one case, an elderly woman paid £500 to have her teeth capped. During the procedure the dentist chipped her two front teeth but refused to repair the damage or offer compensation.

The woman was then forced to pay £700 to have the chips fixed by another dentist.

Other calls to the charity included patients querying the charges made by dentists, delays with the complaints process and issues with payments.

The dental negligence team at national law firm Irwin Mitchell deals with hundreds of cases each year, helping patients get compensation for procedures that go wrong and campaigning for better standards within the industry.

Expert Opinion
It is unacceptable and shocking to hear that some dentists are making errors and then charging the patient to fix the mistake.
Many dental patients don’t realise that there are laws in place to protect their rights when a treatment goes wrong. If you find yourself in that unfortunate situation, in most cases, the dentist should offer to repair the damage, free of charge.

Clear information needs to be made available to all dental patients when something goes wrong, not only so they can find out how to claim compensation but also to help ensure that health and safety standards are kept high and that others are not put at risk.
Christina Gardiner, Solicitor