Dental health is a hugely important aspect of our overall wellbeing. Therefore, it is integral that we feel that we can trust in the professionals who provide us with dental care, whether it be a hygienist, an orthodontist, or our regular dentist.
While the vast majority of dental procedures in this country are successful, there are unfortunately instances where patients may suffer as a result of substandard care and treatment on the part of their practitioner. In such cases, it may be a feasible option to pursue a dental negligence claim.
If you feel that you have a viable case and you wish to explore your options, read on to find out the answers to your most pressing questions.
Does suing a dentist differ from the process of suing a doctor or a hospital?
No; when suing a dentist, you follow exactly the same principles as you would when suing any medical professional. This is because dentists are recognised as medical practitioners in the same way that doctors are in a legal context.
What should my first step be after deciding to pursue a claim?
If you feel that you have a good case which is worth investigating, the very first step to take is to seek the advice of a solicitor with specific expertise in the field of medical negligence.
Once appointed, your solicitor would familiarise themselves with the details of your claim before identifying all of the various sources from which to take up the dental and medical records necessary to build your case. They would then send out authorities to retrieve those records from the various sources, compile them, and make sure that they are in the appropriate order.
Following this, the records would be submitted to a dentist or other relevant professional who would review them to provide an expert opinion. This is an integral step in the process because you cannot bring allege negligence, let alone commence proceedings, against a medical professional without first having obtained a supportive expert report from an appropriate professional. The expert reviewing your case could be a dental surgeon, a maxillofacial specialist, or a dentist who specialises in the procedure which resulted in your injuries.
If, having reviewed the dental and medical records, the expert concluded that there was a clear failure that satisfies the test for negligence under what are known as the Dunne Principles, then you would be in a position to commence a medical negligence claim in the very same way that you would against any other doctor.
What are the most common reasons for seeking compensation for negligent dental treatment?
Whether the incident or injury you are claiming for occurred as a result of a botched procedure or an insufficient level of treatment over a period of time, a claim will usually fall under the categories of dental malpractice or clinical negligence respectively.
In terms of the more specific reasons for pursuing compensation, the most common include:
- Failure on the part of your dentist to diagnose a significant and potentially serious dental issue
- Carelessness during a procedure, such as failing to remove a foreign object from your mouth
- Causing nerve or gum damage during a tooth extraction
- Incorrect fitting of an implant
- Practising unacceptable levels of hygiene during procedures that lead to infection
- Botched cosmetic dental procedures that led to significant stress and pain
- Failure on the part of your dentist to take accurate medical information before administering dental treatment
Why is it important to seek advice from a medical negligence solicitor?
If you have decided to take on the long and laborious process of making a dental negligence claim it is crucial that you have the right person in your corner to provide expert advice and to act professionally and knowledgeably on your behalf.
A solicitor with specific expertise in this area will be your greatest ally on this tough journey.
With more than 30 years of experience in dealing with medical negligence cases, McCarthy + Co. Solicitors have a proven track record in bringing successful claims against dentists and other negligent dental staff.
We are a family-run business who pride ourselves on offering honest, impartial and helpful advice. Our offices are based in Dublin and Cork, but we work with clients throughout Ireland in locations ranging from Galway to Waterford.
Get in touch today if you would like to discuss your claim – you can count on us for legal advice, guidance, and assistance on any form of personal or medical injury.