A friend of mine had a horrific story to tell following a simple tooth extraction, you would not expect a simple procedure for removing wisdom teeth to end in lifelong problems, however negligence can rear its head in almost any clinical situation.
When she was told she had impacted wisdom teeth that would need to be removed she was not concerned as knew a number of people who had wisdom teeth removed with no problems. On the day of the extraction, everything seemed to be going fine to start with, numbing injections in her gums and the extraction started without any issues. To her it seemed to take an awful long time and a lot of force, tugging, pushing and pulling but as she could not feel her mouth she was not the wiser to what was happening. The tooth finally extracted was sent home with a swollen face and no wisdom tooth with no mention of any problems or complications. It was not until the next day that she started to suspect something was wrong, the right hand side of her face was still swollen and the right hand side of her mouth and cheek were numb but still painful in her jaw. After a few days with no improvement she visited a doctor who referred her for an x-ray to check that nothing was wrong. As with most NHS appointments the x-ray appointment took a few weeks to come through and horrifyingly she was told after the x-ray that her jaw had been broken during the tooth extraction.
She was then referred to maxiofacial specialists at King’s Hospital London to be told by them that the damage was irreversible. Where the jaw had been broken and left to heal naturally without intervention, scar tissue had formed and a nerve had been trapped which was causing the numbness. They offered her the choice of surgery that might fix it but the surgery ran high risks of not helping and actually making things worse, the chance of surgery working that late after the break were slim to none. The consultant was shocked that the original dentists did not admit the mistake, he said that the chance of them not realising they had broken her jaw were really very slim and admitted that had the dentist arranged treatment for the broken jaw straight away then she would of had no lasting damage.
She is now suing the dentist for negligence using clinical negligence solicitors. She had to take time off work following the extraction as she was in pain and her job involved a lot of talking which she could not do thanks to the numbness in her jaw. Her confidence has taken a massive knock and she has had to teach herself to talk without slurring and smile properly as she cannot feel what her face is doing. She will suffer for life now, the pain in her jaw will never ease, it is just something she will have to live with thanks to the dentist’s mistake and possible cowardice at not owning up to his error. If you have had a similar problem then I encourage you to talk to solicitors such as Bolt Burdon Kemp as they will help you rightfully claim compensation.