£47k pay out for Buxton dental patient

A dentist carrying out the procedure correctly.
A dentist carrying out the procedure correctly.

A patient has been awarded £47,000 damages after four decades of neglect by dentist left them facing the loss of eight teeth.

The patient, who does not wish to be named, of the now-retired dentist Allan Clark, had regularly attended at Broad Walk Dental Surgery in Buxton, Derbyshire, from the 1970s onwards to see Mr Clark for check-ups and treatment.

Medical negligence solicitor Hayley Collinson, of Hudgell Solicitors, said: “This case of supervised neglect is easily one of the worst and longest we have ever seen, as it spans four decades.

“The patient was duly attending dental appointments for 40 years, confident that they were looking after their teeth and that there were no sinister underlying problems.”

The patient’s records showed routine fillings and occasional scale and polishes had been carried out, however, during this entire period of care not a single X-ray was taken, which an independent dental expert said would have revealed gum disease.

It was only when the dentist retired from the practice in 2012 and the patient started seeing another dentist at the surgery that the widespread gum disease, which was destroying the patient’s gums and putting teeth at risk, was uncovered.

The patient, in their 50s, has since had to have four teeth removed and has been awarded £47,000 damages.

In the legal claim against Mr Clark, an independent dental expert concluded that the patient was also likely to lose another four teeth in the future, whilst a further three teeth will need urgent and costly treatment.

In his report as part of the claim, the independent expert said: “In my opinion the dental records commencing in 1972 demonstrate decades of supervised neglect with a failure to provide oral hygiene instruction and preventative treatment.”

Insurers acting on behalf of Mr Clark accepted the claims, stating: “It is accepted that Mr Clark failed to provide an acceptable standard of care to the patient throughout most of his years of attendance.”

The dentist also accepted failing to carry out reasonable care and skill when carrying out root canal treatment on three teeth, between 1995 and 2003.

Hayley Collinson, added: “This settlement reflects the significant suffering that our client has endured as a result of dental negligence, and will continue to endure for several years to come, as costly and uncomfortable dental work is now needed for the foreseeable future.”