Man left with suicidal thoughts after years of ‘mental torture’ over painful teeth

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A man whose dental treatment over a six-year period left him with severe mental health issues has received £24,000 in compensation.

Amanda Cavanagh, a medical negligence specialist at Ashtons Legal, secured this figure after Mr R was left was suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of undergoing unnecessary and lengthy dental treatment.

Mr R visited his dentist, Dr K, after he had been experiencing headaches, muscle pain in the face and teeth sensitivity.

Dr K recommended occlusal therapy, a treatment used to improve contact between the teeth.

Mr R felt pressured by his dentist to undergo the therapy – he was told that without it, his teeth would crumble. He was not told what this would involve, nor about any alternative treatments.

For three months Mr R wore a plastic wedge between the teeth, followed by a gum shield for a further three months.

He had many of his teeth filed down in one lengthy and ‘traumatic’ session. Mr R described the therapy as invasive, painful, unpleasant, distressing and costly.

Despite meeting with his dentist on over 20 occasions, he continued to experience severe pain. Dr K never tried to figure out the cause of the pain. He did not once perform an adequate dental examination, nor did he record any in-depth notes of the treatment given.

After years of no improvement, and a rapidly declining mental state, Mr R visited a different dentist. She x-rayed his teeth and advised him to visit his GP to check if his sinuses were causing the problems.

After a round of antibiotics to treat chronic sinus pain, Mr R’s pain resolved and he has not experienced any dental issues since.

Mr R described the treatment received by Dr K as ‘mental torture’, and described how he became anxious, frightened, and had nightmares of the occlusal therapy.

The number of claims being made against dentists has doubled over the last decade, meanwhile those involving compensation payouts of over £100,000 has quadrupled.

Amanda comments: “My client relied on the advice of his dentist. He trusted that he would receive the correct treatment and help, but instead was left with severe mental health issues. With the number of claims being made against dentists doubling over the last decade, it’s essential that measures are taken to stop these mistakes from happening in the first place. No amount of compensation justifies physical or mental suffering caused by negligent medical care.”


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