Woman awarded huge payout after dental practice 'failed to spot tooth decay'

This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.

A Derbyshire woman who was left with long term damage to her teeth has reached an out-of-court settlement worth tens of thousands.

Charlotte Kitchen, 45, was left in so much pain that she struggled to eat and sleep and had a holiday ruined.

Mrs Kitchen, who is self-employed, reached the settlement for £16,000 in compensation from her local dental practice, Lowedges Dental Care Limited, after contacting specialist dental negligence solicitors the Dental Law Partnership.

A spokesperson at the dentist said they "endeavour to provide the highest standards of treatment and care" to all patients.

The woman, of Dronfield Woodhouse, claims she was left with severely damaged teeth which her legal advisors say was thanks to dentists’ consistent failure to spot and treat decay that was clear visible on x-ray films for years.

She visited dentists at Lowedges Dental Care Limited in Sheffield between 2011 and 2017.

She said: “I was always led to believe my teeth were in good condition.

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“I saw dentists at the practice regularly over the years and they never said anything was wrong. You naturally trust dentists as professionals, don’t you? If they tell you something you assume it is correct.”

But Mrs Kitchen's teeth were far from healthy.

She added: “By 2016 I had started suffering from toothache and infections.

“I was eventually told I needed restorative treatment at seven teeth including fillings and root canal treatment.

“In hindsight it seems strange to be told you need treatment at seven teeth, but again, I still trusted the dentists at this stage. I started to think I must just have bad teeth.”

But Mrs Kitchen’s dental problems only went from bad to worse.

“The treatment itself was pretty traumatic and painful,” Mrs Kitchen said.

“But things didn’t get any better afterwards. One of the fillings even kept falling out. I also developed throbbing toothache and was suddenly told I needed root canal treatment. It was just never-ending and I thought, ‘this can’t be right’.”

Mrs Kitchen contacted the Dental Law Partnership.

Analysis of her dental records revealed that dentists at Lowedges Dental Care Limited had consistently failed to spot and treat decay that was clearly visible in x-rays taken as far back as 2011.

Mrs Kitchen claims that instead of treating the decay, the dentists had just placed fillings over it, which led to the ongoing problems Mrs Kitchen experienced.

Mrs Kitchen said: “It’s unbelievable really. I visited the practice for regular check-ups and the dentists never noticed anything was wrong for years.

“Toothache wrecked what should have been an incredible holiday to America. I have also found it difficult to eat and sleep, it’s been horrible. To make matters worse I now need endless corrective treatment, despite having already spent hours in the dentist’s chair. It’s ridiculous.”

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Tyla Westhead of the Dental Law Partnership commented: “The distress and pain our client has experienced was completely avoidable. If dentists at the practice had carried out adequate treatment in the first place, her problems could have been prevented.”

The Dental Law Partnership took on Mrs Kitchen’s case in 2017. The case has now been ended with a £16,000 out-of court-settlement. The dental practice did not admit liability.

In a comment, the dental practice said: “While we do not accept the accuracy of the facts portrayed by The Dental Law Partnership, we are limited in what we can say because of patient confidentiality.

“However, we would like to express our sympathy for the patient’s distress as we endeavour to provide the highest standards of treatment and care to all of our patients.”