Written by

Sowmya Jagannath - Senior Solicitor

Dental negligence refers to situations where dental practitioners fail to provide the standard level of care to patients and this has resulted in harm or injury. Dental negligence can take various forms including misdiagnosis, medication errors, careless work or the extraction of a wrong tooth. This can lead to devastating consequences for patients including unnecessary pain, damage to teeth and gums, and infections. In this article, we will be discussing statistics surrounding dental negligence in the UK and the impacts that this can have on patients. 

Dental statistics 

The NHS Annual report states that 18.1 million adults were seen by an NHS dentist in the 24 months up to 30th June 2023 and 6.4 million children were seen in the 12 months up to the 30th June 2023.

 

Throughout 2022-2023, there were 32.5 million courses of treatment delivered which is an increase of 23.2% compared to the previous year. 

 

In March 2023, the NHS conducted a patient survey in which they received over 759,000 replies. The survey revealed that 53% of the respondents tried to get an NHS dental appointment in the past two years and of those who tried to get an appointment, 73% were successful. This put the success rate at 75% which is the same as the previous year. However, the success rate for respondents who had not been to the practice before was at 30%, much lower than people who had been to the practice before, where the success rate was 83%

 

In 2023, among the people who were not successful in getting an NHS dental appointment, the most common reason was that the dentist was not taking on any new NHS patients, which 40% of unsuccessful respondents said. 39% of unsuccessful patients said that there were no appointments available. 

 

There is also research that showed that in 2022, there were 9 out of 10 NHS dental practices that were unable to take on any new adult patients in the NHS. This coincides with the data that reported that in the 2 years prior to March 2023, 40% of patients that could not get an NHS dental appointment was due to their dentist not taking on any new NHS patients.  

 

The NHS patient survey also showed that of the respondents that tried to get NHS dental care in the past 2 years, 78% said the experience was positive. From the respondents that responded between January and March 2023, 46% had a very good experience and 32% had a fairly good experience. However, 9% said it was neither good nor poor, and 6% said that they had a fairly poor experience. 

By not having access to an NHS dentist, patients may receive delayed dental treatment which can cause patients to have unnecessary suffering and dental damage, and in cases like this, you may be entitled to claim compensation. When avoidable pain or the worsening of your dental condition has occurred due to unnecessary delays or negligence, this can be a devastating experience for patients and you may have a dental negligence claim.

 

The impact of dental negligence 

Dental negligence can have extreme consequences for patients, potentially impacting their physical health, emotional well being and finances. When dental practitioners fail to provide adequate care to patients, the impacts can be devastating. 

 

Not visiting your dentist can lead to serious dental complications for patients including

  • Increased risk of gum disease 
  • Increased risk of tooth decay 
  • Increased risk of tooth discolouration 

 

Dental negligence can cause a range of physical consequences depending on the severity of the negligence. Missed or delayed diagnosis can result in the worsening of dental conditions such as gum disease, this could lead on to the patient needing further, potentially more invasive, treatment. 

 

Dental negligence could also potentially cause an emotional impact on patients as experiencing unnecessary pain and complications could cause feelings of anxiety for patients. Experiencing dental negligence may also have financial implications as patients may have had to incur additional treatment costs. Patients may have also experienced a loss of income due to time off work for any additional treatment or recovery time. This can also be extremely stressful for patients and cause added emotional implications.

 

Dental negligence claims 

If you believe that you have experienced any sort of dental negligence and this has led to any sort of harm or injury, you may be able to claim for compensation. There are many ways in which dental negligence can occur and at Patient Claim Line, we have dealt with many dental negligence claims including: 

 

If you have received any type of dental negligence, either under the NHS or a private dentist, and you have been caused harm, you may be able to claim for compensation. Contact Patient Claim Line today, and we will assess your dental negligence claim on a no win no fee basis.

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