Do you have evidence that a dentist failed to provide you with the correct level of care? Did you suffer avoidable or further harm as a result? If so, our guide exploring how to make a dental nerve damage claim could help.
According to the NHS, NHS dentists saw 18.2 million adults in the 24 months leading up to June 2021. In addition, they saw 3.9 million children in the 12 months leading up to June 2021. During this time, dentists in the NHS delivered 12 million courses of treatment.
As these treatments will have covered a range of different procedures, there may have been some risks that were unavoidable. Therefore, not every incident of nerve damage will have been caused by a dentist acting negligently.
However, if you have evidence that you sustained harm that could have been avoided by your dentist delivering the right standard of care, you could be entitled to seek compensation.
Our guide will look at the steps you may need to take to build a strong case. However, if you have any questions after reading, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team:
- Telephone – 0161 696 9685
- Fill out your contact details for an advisor to call you back
- Get instant advice from an advisor using the live chat box below
Jump To A Section
- A Guide On Making A Dental Nerve Damage Claim
- What Are Dental Nerve Injuries?
- What Could Cause Dental Nerve Damage?
- Dental Procedures Which Could Be Affected By Negligence
- What Are The Signs Of A Dental Nerve Injury?
- Can Dental Nerve Damage Heal?
- Standards And Duties Of Care In Dentistry
- NHS Dental Patients Rights
- Calculate Your Payout For A Dental Nerve Damage Claim
- Types Of Damages Which May Be Awarded
- What Steps Could You Take After Negligent Dental Care?
- Can A No Win No Fee Solicitor Help Me Make A Dental Nerve Damage Claim?
- Start Your Dental Nerve Damage Claim
- Related Guides
- Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Nerve Damage Claims
When you seek medical attention, you have a right to a minimum standard of care from the person treating you. This is regardless of whether you’re at A&E, in a walk-in centre or seeking dental treatment.
To begin with, we will examine what a nerve injury is and how negligence on the part of a dentist could cause it. We’ll also look at the signs and symptoms of a nerve injury as well as what treatment is available.
Our guide will also look at the different forms of evidence that can be useful in supporting your claim. Additionally, we’ll explore how certain evidence can be useful in valuing how much your claim is worth.
Although it’s difficult to provide an average settlement amount, this guide will look at what you could claim in compensation. Furthermore, we’ll provide guidance on how your claim may be calculated.
Don’t forget, if you have any questions about anything regarding your dental nerve damage claim, you can contact our team on the number above.
A dental nerve injury involves any of the nerves around the mouth sustaining damage. They can cause you to experience various symptoms such as numbness, tingling and pain within the mouth.
As there are various nerves in the mouth, you could sustain several types of dental injuries. They could include:
- Lingual nerve damage. The lingual nerve helps the tongue carry out different functions, such as allowing you to taste and experience other tongue sensations. For instance, when you burn your tongue after eating something too hot. When damaged, it could affect your ability to experience different sensations.
- Inferior and Superior alveolar nerve. These nerves are connected to the molars and premolars, providing sensation to the teeth, cheek, lips, chin. Also, they are responsible for the pain you may experience from different conditions in the mouth such as an ulcer, abscess, cavity or cracked tooth. Additionally, dentists will generally inject a local anaesthetic into these nerves when preparing a tooth for a filling to numb the surrounding areas. These nerves may be susceptible to damage during different treatments and may result in the loss of sensation.
- Trigeminal neuralgia. This is a condition caused by nerve damage that causes severe nerve sensitivity. It can be triggered through simple tasks such as talking, smiling or washing your face.
- Gum disease. If this condition is left untreated or incorrectly treated, it can cause tooth loss or gum abscesses which can lead to further damage of the nerves. The above injuries or conditions could have resulted from negligent dental treatment or as a result of a complication that couldn’t have been avoided.
However, if yours was caused by a dentist failing to provide you with the correct level of care, you could seek compensation. Speak to a member of our team to find out more.
The following treatments or procedures could cause dental nerve damage:
- Wisdom tooth removal or removal of other teeth
- Root canal treatment
- Dental implants through overfilling or over-instrumentation
- Dental restorations such as crowns that were made too big and led to bacteria getting trapped, resulting in gum disease
- Leaving the dental surface exposed, causing sensitivity
- Too much pressure on the root surface during treatment, resulting in root resorption
Nerve damage may be a complication or risk of the above procedures. In some cases, it may not have been a result of the dentist’s failings. Complications like nerve damage can arise even when a dentist is providing the right level of care.
However, if you have evidence that a dentist failed to take reasonable steps to prevent nerve damage through these treatments, you may be entitled to make a medical negligence claim.
For instance, if they failed to consider the position of the surrounding nerves before carrying out the procedure, this could be an example of negligence. Alternatively, they may have failed to inform you of the risks, meaning you could not make an informed decision about the procedure.
The following section will explore how negligence in different dental procedures could lead to dental nerve damage.
If you have any questions about how to prove that a dentist failed to provide you with the correct level of care, please get in touch with our team. They can assess your dental nerve damage claim and provide further clarification.
Negligence When Carrying Out An Implant
A dentist could fail to treat you with the correct level of care when inserting a dental implant. For instance, they could:
- Drill too far into the jaw canal, causing damage to the surrounding nerves
- Use an implant that’s too long, resulting in pressure on the nerve
Surgical Negligence In The Removal Of A Tooth
As nerve damage is often a complication of tooth removal, particularly wisdom tooth removal, you should be informed of the risk. Failing to do so may constitute a breach of their duty of care.
Furthermore, a dentist may make an error in surgery that damages your nerve. For example, they could leave a foreign object in your mouth after surgery.
Root Canal Surgical Negligence
A root canal procedure is often used to repair or save a badly decayed or infected tooth. It involves removing the nerve and pulp within the tooth before cleaning and sealing the tooth.
However, if the correct level of care is not taken, nerve damage could occur due to the dentist overfilling the tooth.
The symptoms you experience may vary depending on the severity of the harm you’ve suffered. However, according to the NHS, some common symptoms might include:
- Partial or complete numbness in the affected area
- Lack of feeling in tongue, gums, cheeks, jaw or face
- Tingling, pulling sensation
- Difficulties with speech
If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms after receiving dental care, make sure you seek medical advice. This can ensure your symptoms are treated correctly.
The recovery process of nerve damage may depend on the severity of your injury. In some cases, it’s possible to regain normal sensation. However, the time it takes will vary.
In some instances, you may be left with ongoing issues. For example, you might not regain the sensation in the damaged nerve. Alternatively, you might experience long-term paraesthesia, such as a tingling sensation in the affected area that does not go away.
For more information on your nerve damage symptoms, speak to a medical professional or visit the NHS website.
Every dentist professional must meet the correct standard of care when treating their patients.
They have a duty of care to keep their patients safe from suffering further or avoidable harm. Furthermore, they must also be registered with the General Dental Council.
Additionally, they must:
- Put their patient’s interests first
- Communicate effectively with patients
- Obtain valid consent
- Keep patient information up to date and protected
- Provide a complaints procedure for patients to go down
- Maintain and develop professional skills
- Work within their professional knowledge
- Raise concerns if they believe a patient is at risk
Although a dentist has a clear set of duties to adhere to, it can often be difficult to determine whether a dentist has acted negligently. For that reason, the Bolam test may be used.
This involves a panel of medical professionals in a similar field, assessing the case and determining whether the correct level of care was given. If it wasn’t, then it’s possible negligence may have occurred.
As a patient, you have a right to receive the correct level of care which might include being informed of:
- Whether your procedure is funded by the NHS or privately
- The cost of your treatment if you do have to fund it yourself
- What the procedure involves
- Other treatment options available
- All relevant information about the procedure to allow you to make an informed decision
Furthermore, if a dentist has treated you with a below standard level of care, you have the right to seek compensation by making a medical negligence claim. For more information on the steps you may need to take to do so, see below. You can also contact our advisors for free legal advice.
As part of your claim, you may be able to seek compensation for the pain and suffering you’ve endured from your physical or psychological injury. An example of psychiatric injury could include post-traumatic stress disorder. This is something you can claim under general damages.
However, it’s important to be aware that you may only seek compensation for the further harm you’ve suffered, not your original injury or condition. Furthermore, the compensation you may receive will depend on certain factors. For instance:
- The severity of your injury
- Any long term impact
- The impact on your quality of life
As different factors will be considered, the settlement figure you may receive is difficult to predict. However, we have provided a table that gives examples of the value of different nerve injuries.
|Type of harm||Additional comments||Compensation award|
|Damage to teeth||An abscess that has been left untreated that results in chronic tooth pain.||Up to £32,540|
|Damage to teeth||(i) Where several front teeth have been lost or seriously damaged.||£8,200 to £10,710|
|Damage to teeth||(ii) Where two front teeth have been lost or seriously damaged.||£4,080 to £7,160|
|Damage to teeth||(iii) Where one front tooth has been lost or seriously damaged.||£2,070 to £3,710|
|Damage to teeth||(iv) Where the back teeth have been damaged or lost, the award will be given per tooth.||£1,020 to £1,600|
|Fractures of Jaws||(i) Very serious: Injuries including multiple fractures which lead to ongoing issues with severe pain, eating, paraesthesia.||£28,610 to £42,730|
|Fractures of Jaws||(ii) Serious: Injuries including a fracture leading to ongoing issues with paraesthesia, eating or difficulty opening the mouth.||£16,860 to £28,610|
A document called the Judicial College Guidelines, which is often used to help when valuing claims, has provided the figures. However, you should only use them as a guide because your settlement figure will vary.
For more information on what your dental nerve damage claim could be worth, you can speak to an advisor who can assess your case.
We understand that it’s not only your injury that will have caused you problems. For instance, you may have suffered financial burdens as a result of your injuries, such as:
- Loss of earnings due to being unable to work
- Cost of care for yourself or someone else dependent on you, such as children or an elderly relative
- Medical expenses such as pain medication
If this is the case, you can seek reimbursement for any past or future financial losses incurred by your injury under special damages.
For more information, please get in touch with our team. An advisor can provide further clarification on the financial losses you could claim for.
When looking to make a medical negligence claim, it can be important to take steps to build a strong case. For instance, you might want to seek medical advice to ensure your injury is treated correctly.
Additionally, this can help to provide evidence in the form of medical records. The records can be used to show whether you have suffered further harm due to a dentist failing to take reasonable steps to prevent your injury.
It may also be useful to keep a record of your symptoms and take pictures of your injury to show the progression of your condition.
Furthermore, you will need to provide other evidence if you’re seeking compensation under special damages. For instance, receipts, payslips or invoices which prove any financial losses.
Most importantly, it can help to seek legal advice from a solicitor who has experience handling medical negligence claims. If you are looking to seek legal representation, our panel of solicitors all have experience with dental negligence claims.
For more information on how the solicitors from our panel will handle your claim, see below.
No Win No Fee solicitors handle various types of claims for people seeking compensation. Additionally, if you work with a solicitor to represent you on this basis, you won’t be asked to pay solicitor fees if your claim fails or before it begins.
If your claim succeeds, you will be required to pay a success fee. However, it’s a legally capped percentage of your award, and your solicitor will inform you of how much will be deducted before you begin your claim with them.
The most important thing to remember is that funding legal representation in this way allows you to avoid upfront costs and costs that may incur during your dental nerve damage claim.
We hope you found our guide informative. However, we imagine you may still have questions regarding the process of making a medical negligence claim. If so, our advisors can provide further clarification.
For instance, if you’re unsure whether a dentist provided you with the correct level of care, our team can assess your claim. They can determine whether you may be entitled to seek compensation.
Furthermore, if they feel it has a chance of succeeding, connect you with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel.
Alternatively, if you just require some further information, they can answer any questions you may have.
For more information, get in touch using the details below:
- Telephone – 0161 696 9685
- Fill out your contact details for an advisor to call you back
- Get instant advice from an advisor using the live chat box below
For further information on making a claim for dental negligence, see our guide.
If you received a misdiagnosis that led to further harm, see our guide for the steps you need to take to put forward a claim.
Did you experience post-traumatic stress disorder due to the severity of your injury? If so, our guide could help.
See the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for more information on what care you should expect from your dental practice.
If you’d like to see how the NHS Resolution may be involved in your claim, see their website.
See if you’re eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
The following section will look at commonly asked questions about dental negligence claims.
How long do you have to make a dental negligence claim?
Generally, you’ll have three years from the date of the incident or the date you obtained enough knowledge that a medical professional’s failings led to further arm. However, there may be exceptions.
Can you claim for dental negligence?
If you have evidence to prove that a dentist treated you with a substandard level of care, you may be entitled to make a claim.
What can I do about bad dental work?
If you have evidence to prove that the bad dental work could have been avoided had you received the correct level of care, you could seek legal advice to understand your rights.
Thank you for reading our guide on making a dental nerve damage claim.
Written by MMI
Edited by FS