Dental Nerve Damage Compensation Claims

By Cat Stardew. Last Updated 2nd August 2023. 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:

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A dentist explaining nerve damage to a patient while sitting in a dentist's chair

Jump To A Section

  1. A Guide To Making A Dental Nerve Damage Claim
  2. What Are Dental Nerve Injuries?
  3. What Could Cause Dental Nerve Damage?
  4. Dental Procedures Which Could Be Affected By Negligence
  5. What Are The Signs Of A Dental Nerve Injury?
  6. Dental Negligence Claim Calculator – How Could It Help Me?
  7. Standards And Duties Of Care In Dentistry
  8. Dental Nerve Damage – Compensation Claim Time Limits
  9. Calculate Your Payout For A Dental Nerve Damage Claim
  10. What Are Special Damages?
  11. Evidence To Support A Claim For Dental Nerve Damage
  12. Make A Claim For Dental Nerve Damage With A No Win No Fee Lawyer
  13. Related Guides
  14. Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Nerve Damage Claims

A Guide To Making A Dental Nerve Damage Claim

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. 

What Are Dental Nerve Injuries?

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.

What Could Cause Dental Nerve Damage?

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.

Dental Procedures Which Could Be Affected By Negligence

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. 

What Are The Signs Of A Dental Nerve Injury?

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.

Dental Negligence Claim Calculator – How Could It Help Me?

If you’re looking for an estimation of your claim, you could potentially want to use an online dental negligence claim calculator. You may be interested in learning about the benefits of using such a calculator.

If you’re pursuing nerve damage compensation, a dental negligence claim calculator could help you get a broad estimate of your general damages compensation. This would use the figures from the Judicial College Guidelines as a guide.

However, it is important to note that an online calculator can only give you a general estimation of your claim. It also may not take special damages into account, which addresses any financial loss you have experienced as a result of your injury.

For a personalised and accurate estimate of your claim, we recommend getting in touch with us at any time. Our advisors can offer free eligibility checks, compensation estimations and potentially connect you with an expert solicitor from our panel.

Standards And Duties Of Care In Dentistry

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.

Dental Nerve Damage – Compensation Claim Time Limits

As discussed above, you might be eligible for dental nerve damage compensation if you suffered unnecessary harm because a dentist breached their duty of care owed to you. However, you must start legal proceedings within the time limit.

For dental negligence, this is typically three years as set by the Limitation Act 1980. However, in circumstances where the injured party cannot start their own claim, the time limit is suspended. In these cases, a litigation friend can be appointed to start proceedings on behalf of the injured party at any time during the suspension. However, even when the limitation period is suspended, a dental negligence claim calculator can still provide a rough estimate of damages.

Children under the age of 18 cannot start legal proceedings. Once they turn 18, the time limit is no longer suspended. This gives them three years from that date to begin a claim if one has not been started on their behalf.

The time limit is indefinitely suspended for those who lack the mental capacity to start their own claim. However, if they regain their mental capacity and a claim has not been started on their behalf, they will have three years from that date to begin proceedings.

Call our advisors if you have any questions about using a nerve damage compensation calculator after experiencing dental negligence. If you prefer, they can provide a more accurate claim valuation.

Compensation For Dental Negligence

After suffering dental nerve damage symptoms due to negligence, you might be interested in knowing what compensation you could receive. Pain or harm due to your dental nerve injury will be compensated for under general damages. For example, you might suffer a jaw fracture.

You may want to use a nerve damage compensation calculator for an estimation of your claim. However, such tools may not be able to give you an estimation of any special damages you could be entitled to.

The table below may be more useful to you. It uses figures from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), which was last updated in 2022. Solicitors use the JCG to help calculate general damages.

Type of harmAdditional commentsCompensation award
Fractures of Jaws(i) Very serious: Injuries including multiple fractures which lead to ongoing issues with severe pain, eating, paraesthesia.£30,490 to £45,540
Fractures of Jaws(ii) Serious: Injuries including a fracture leading to ongoing issues with paraesthesia, eating or difficulty opening the mouth.£17,960 to £30,490
Damage to teethAn abscess that has been left untreated that results in chronic tooth pain.Up to £38,130
Damage to teeth(i) Where several front teeth have been lost or seriously damaged.£8,730 to £11,410
Damage to teeth(ii) Where two front teeth have been lost or seriously damaged.£4,350 to £7,630
Damage to teeth(iii) Where one front tooth has been lost or seriously damaged.£2,200 to £3,950
Damage to teeth(iv) Where the back teeth have been damaged or lost, the award will be given per tooth.£1,090 to £1,710

Please note that the figures above are only intended to be used as guidance only. Get in touch to find out more about how dental negligence payouts are in the UK are calculated.

What Are Special Damages? 

When making a claim for dental or medical negligence, a claim calculator that you find online may not take everything into account. For instance, it might not consider special damages. This is the head of claim through which you could be reimbursed for certain costs and expenditures that would not have occurred if not for your injury.

Here are a few of examples of what could be included in a special damages payment:

  • Medical expenses – For instance, you may require dental treatment not covered by the NHS. You may also have prescription costs to cover, such as for painkillers.
  • Loss of earnings – For example, if you have had to take unpaid time off work while you recover.
  • Loss of payments or bookings – This can include scenarios such as not being able to go on a holiday that has already been paid for due to your condition

For more examples and information, get in touch today. We can provide you with answers to your questions, as well as take you through a compensation calculation to see how much you could be owed.

Evidence To Support A Claim For Dental Nerve Damage

To be eligible to make a medical negligence claim for dental compensation, you will need to prove that you suffered harm due to a dentist breaching their duty of care. Collecting evidence could help support your dental nerve damage claim.

Some examples of the evidence you could collect include:

  • A copy of your dental records, stating any harm you sustained and the treatment you received.
  • Correspondence with the dental practice regarding the treatment you received.
  • A diary detailing your dental nerve damage symptoms and how they affect your daily life.
  • Evidence of any financial losses you have suffered due to your injury, such as payslips to prove a loss of earnings.

Contact our advisors today to receive free advice for your potential dental negligence claim. If they believe you may have a strong case, they could connect you with one of the solicitors on our panel.

Make A Claim For Dental Nerve Damage With A No Win No Fee Lawyer

Now that you’ve learned more about dental compensation and dental nerve damage claims, we’ll explore how a No Win No Fee lawyer could benefit your claim.

Working with a legal professional can bring many benefits; for example, a lawyer can help you gather evidence to support your claim and can explain the claims process in further detail. One of the benefits of working with a lawyer from our panel is that they take on claims from all over the country, which means you don’t have to work with a local legal professional.

Our panel of lawyers also work under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), which means that their services are available on a No Win No Fee basis. This means there are no upfront or ongoing fees to pay for your lawyer’s work, and there is no fee to pay for their services if your claim fails.

If your claim is successful, then your lawyer will be due a success fee. This is deducted directly from your compensation award and is taken as a small percentage of what you receive. However, this percentage is subject to a legal cap; this helps in ensuring that the majority of your compensation goes to you.

Contact Our Team

Our team are on hand to help you start your claim for dental nerve damage. Get in touch today to find out if a No Win No Fee lawyer from our panel could help you by:

Related Guides

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). 

Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Nerve Damage Claims

The following section will look at commonly asked questions about dental negligence claims.

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