Not only can dental abscesses cause a lot of pain, but they can also lead to dangerous infections that spread throughout the body. Usually, a dentist will spot the cause of an abscess and treat it before it occurs but, on occasion, that’s not always the case. If a dentist fails to spot or treat an abscess and you suffer as a result, you could be entitled to claim compensation. This guide about dental abscess compensation claims will explain what options you have available to you.
If you’re thinking of claiming for a dental abscess and call us, a specially-trained advisor will review your claim with you and assess the chances of you being compensated. If they believe your claim is strong enough and a medical negligence lawyer from our panel agrees to work for you, the claim will be managed on a No Win, No Fee basis. That means you won’t pay legal fees upfront and you won’t pay for your solicitor’s work unless they win your claim for you.
Please get in touch on 0800 652 1345 to discuss a dental abscess claim with a specialist advisor, or continue reading.
What is a dental abscess?
The NHS explains dental abscesses are a pocket of pus in the gums or teeth resulting from bacterial infections that accumulate usually at the base of the root of the tooth.
Dental abscesses can be caused by:
- Gum disease, dental cavities and tooth decay.
- Injuries to your mouth, teeth or gums.
- An impacted tooth (a tooth that has not developed out of the gums properly).
- Damage to your teeth from previous dental work.
A dental abscess will not go away on its own. Initially, a dentist will drain the pus from the abscess. If the tooth can be saved, a root canal procedure will be performed under local anaesthetic. If the tooth cannot be saved, it may have to be removed to prevent the spread of infection. Painkillers and antibiotics may be prescribed to prevent pain and infection after a dental abscess has been drained.
An untreated dental abscess can lead to much more serious conditions that, in some cases, can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of a dental abscess
It is important to see a dentist for treatment if there’s a chance you have a dental abscess. Some of the early symptoms of dental abscesses include:
- Toothache or severe pain in the gums.
- A bad taste in your mouth.
- Redness near the abscess on your face, jaw or in the mouth.
- Sensitivity to hot or cold drinks (or food).
- Swelling to the jaw or face.
- Difficulty chewing food or opening your mouth.
- Fever (a high temperature).
- Swollen neck glands.
If you’ve suffered because of a dental abscess and believe your dentist could’ve prevented your symptoms, you could be entitled to start a compensation claim. Please call our team to check your options.
Can I claim compensation for a dental abscess?
Our panel of medical negligence solicitors can only take on dental abscess claims with a fair chance of being successful. As such, the criteria they use to assess whether you have a valid claim are:
- Dental negligence: Where it can be shown that the dentist provided a level of care lower than what you could reasonably expect of a competent dentist.
- Causation: Where any suffering you’ve endured can be linked directly to the dentist’s negligence.
To assess whether your dentist acted negligently, their work will be reviewed by an independent dental expert. If they conclude that similarly-skilled dentists would’ve acted differently during your treatment, then you could be entitled to make a dental abscess compensation claim.
Dentist duty of care
All dentists, dental nurses and other dental professionals have a duty of care towards the well-being of their patients. That duty means that they must assess the patient’s teeth properly during checkups, look for the signs of dental problems and carry out any dental procedures properly.
In many cases, dental treatment in the UK is carried out to a high standard. Where dental abscesses are spotted earlier enough, they can be treated easily enough and with as little impact on the patient as possible.
However, if a dentist fails to meet their duty of care they could be classed as negligent and that might allow you to claim compensation for any subsequent suffering.
Examples of negligence leading to dental abscess claims
So, to claim compensation for suffering caused by a dental abscess, you’ll need to prove that the dentist acted negligently. Some examples of negligence that could entitle you to compensation include:
- A delay in diagnosing a dental abscess.
- Mistreatment of tooth decay or broken teeth.
- Substandard draining of the abscess leading to further infections.
- Failure to administer a suitable course of antibiotics after treating an abscess.
- Mistakes or procedural errors while treating the abscess.
- Incomplete deep-cleaning treatments which fail to kill off the underlying infection.
Additional forms of negligence by a dentist that might allow you to claim include:
- Poor hygiene standards when treating an abscess.
- Failure to supervise inexperienced staff.
- Using the wrong dental tools during tooth removal.
- Performing a wrong tooth extraction or root canal on the wrong tooth.
This list is by no means conclusive. If you’ve suffered following any form of dental negligence, please let us know and we’ll review your options for free.
Misdiagnosis of a dental abscess
One of the main types of dental negligence leading to abscesses is misdiagnosis. This is where the dentist failed to spot an abscess or tooth damage that could result in an abscess.
For example, you may have the grounds to make a dental abscess compensation claim if you visited your dentist with a toothache but they didn’t perform an x-ray and so missed damage that later went on to develop into a dental abscess.
How much compensation for dental abscess negligence can I claim?
In any type of dental negligence claim, you will need to review how you have suffered physically, mentally and financially.
If your dental abscess claim is successful, a settlement could account for:
- The pain and discomfort caused by the abscess and tooth damage.
- Any psychological injuries such as depression and anxiety.
- Loss of enjoyment of going to restaurants and other activities the abscess prevented you from doing.
- Lost income.
- Travel expenses linked to additional dental appointments.
- The time someone else has spent caring for you whilst you were in recovery.
- The cost of private dental treatment needed to put things right.
- Future loss of earnings for more serious teeth problems that affect your ability to work.
If your claim is taken on by a medical negligence lawyer on our panel, they’ll discuss your case in detail to try and understand exactly how you have suffered. Then they’ll try to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible.
Providing proof for dental abscess compensation claims
If you’re to be compensated for the suffering caused by a dental abscess, you’ll need to prove what went wrong during your treatment. As such, your solicitor will investigate your case thoroughly and try to secure the proof needed to support your claim. The types of proof that could be used include:
- X-rays and dental records from your previous checkups.
- Your dental history to understand your general dental health and any previous treatment.
- Photographic proof of the damage caused by the abscess.
- Financial records to prove any expenses you’ve incurred.
- Witness statements. For example, friends or relatives may be asked to explain how you’ve suffered.
If you work with a solicitor on our panel, they’ll review your claim in detail and work on your behalf to secure the proof needed to prove what went wrong.
How does my solicitor know how the dental abscess has affected me?
As part of the claims process, it will usually be necessary for you to have a checkup with an independent dentist. This will usually happen locally and the appointment will be booked by your solicitor.
The dentist will examine your teeth to assess the current state of any damage. As well as discussing how you’ve suffered, they’ll also try to determine what remedial work may be needed. All of this information will be sent to your solicitor and the defendant’s insurers and will form the basis of any compensation payment you may receive if your claim is successful.
No Win, No Fee claims
You needn’t be concerned about the cost of hiring a solicitor who specialises in dental negligence claims if you work with us. That’s because all claims taken on by our specialist panel of solicitors are handled on a No Win, No Fee basis.
That means that if your claim is taken on:
- You won’t be asked to pay your solicitor upfront.
- No legal fees are payable if the dental abscess claim is unsuccessful.
- If the claim is won, your solicitor’s work is covered by a success fee deducted from your compensation payment.
The success fee you’ll pay will be listed in your No Win, No Fee agreement as a fixed percentage of any settlement you receive. By law, this can be no higher than 25 per cent.
Once you have signed your contract, your solicitor’s main goals are to:
- Find out more about how you have suffered.
- Try to secure any supporting proof to show what went wrong.
- File the dental abscess claim with the dentist who treated you.
- Deal with the dentist’s insurance provider on your behalf.
- Update you regularly about how your claim is progressing.
- Offer advice about accepting any settlement offer that is received.
To see if you could make a dental abscess compensation claim on a No Win, No Fee basis, please get in touch.
Do dental abscess claims go to court?
As explained earlier, the solicitors from our panel don’t want to waste your time so they’ll only agree to work on claims with a good cent chance of success. As such, in our experience, most dental abscess claims do not require any court hearings. In most cases, claims are settled amicably with the dentist’s insurers.
The only time a claim might need to be heard in a court is if the defendant won’t accept liability for your suffering or if a compensation settlement offer does not cover all of your sufferings.
Dental abscess claim time limit
In the UK, there is a legal time limit for any type of medical negligence claim. For dental abscess claims, you’ll usually have 3 years from the date your abscess was diagnosed and linked to previous negligent treatment.
While 3 years is a long time, we’d suggest you begin the process as soon as you can. That will mean that your solicitor has ample time to secure any proof needed to show what went wrong. Also, if you start your dental abscess claim early, any costs for remedial dental treatment could be covered by an interim payment before your claim has been processed.
If you wish to make a dental abscess compensation claim for your child, you can do so at any time before their 18th birthday as their 3-year time limit does not start until then.
Start a dental abscess compensation claim today
To discuss starting a dental abscess claim, call us on 0800 652 1345. One of our specialist advisors will review the suffering you’ve endured because of a dental abscess and offer free legal advice on how to proceed.
If it looks like you’re entitled to claim compensation and a medical negligence solicitor from our panel agrees to take your claim on, you’ll be represented on a No Win, No Fee basis.
To find out more about dental abscess compensation claims please feel free to connect to our live chat service.