A Sunderland man has won £7,000 in compensation from his dentist after he lost a tooth.
Joe Riches, 25, a machine adjuster, received the out-of-court settlement after taking his case to specialist dental negligence solicitors, the Dental Law Partnership.
It was claimed that Dr Beatriz Villaverde Serrano, of Fence Houses Dental Practice, had failed to spot and treat decay, which caused infection and ongoing pain that eventually led to Mr Riches losing the tooth.
Dr Serrano did not admit liability, but the case was settled out of court. In a statement to the Echo, she said she did not accept “the accuracy of the facts conveyed by the The Dental Law Partnership” and always strived to “provide the best possible care” for all patients.
Mr Riches said in 2013 he began having problems with a tooth and that Dr Serrano had told him he needed a filling.
But, the problems with the tooth continued and he returned to the dentist in 2014, when he had another filling on the tooth.
The fact it ended up being extracted anyway made it all the more ridiculousJoe Riches
However, Mr Riches was back the following year and said by now the pain in the tooth was worse than ever, there was also swelling around the tooth and he had a bad taste in his mouth. It was claimed Dr Serrano’s solution was to prescribe antibiotics and replace the filling for a third time.
Mr Riches said: “Dr Serrano just didn’t seem to be resolving the problem. Every time I had pain in the tooth she just replaced the filling or prescribed antibiotics.”
Mr Riches saw a new dentist in 2016, who he claims was shocked at how bad the ongoing infection around the tooth was.
It is claimed the repeated fillings placed around the tooth had only made Mr Riches’ problems worse. He eventually developed an abscess around the tooth, the pain and swelling got worse than ever and the tooth finally had to be extracted.
Mr Riches contacted the Dental Law Partnership and analysis of X-rays revealed decay had been present beneath the tooth since 2013.
Mr Riches said: “To hear my tooth had been decaying the entire time was so upsetting. The pain was unbearable at times. It had affected me for three years.
“I still don’t chew food on the side of my mouth where the tooth is located because I’m paranoid it will become painful and infected again.
“I couldn’t believe I’d spent so much money on trying to resolve problems with one tooth. The fact it ended up being extracted anyway made it all the more ridiculous. I spent so much time at the dentist and spent a great deal of money for nothing.”
The case was settled in January when the £7,000 out-of-court settlement was paid.
Tim Armitage of the Dental Law Partnership, said: “What our client went through was entirely unnecessary. If the dentist had identified the decay when it first appeared on the X-rays, it could have been treated and our client wouldn’t have had to endure so much pain and extensive treatment. We hope the compensation he receives goes some way towards paying for corrective treatment required.”
Dr Serrano said: “While I do not accept the accuracy of the facts conveyed by The Dental Law Partnership, I am limited in what I can say because of patient confidentiality.
“I always strive to provide the best possible care for all my patients.”