Dentists in Ireland are categorised as medical practitioners by the Medical Practitioners Act of 2007, and as such have the same “duty of care” as a surgeon, nurse, family doctor or mid-wife. All the time you are reclining in their chair, you place your trust in them that they are going to take the best care of your teeth, but when they fail to do so – and you sustained an avoidable injury as a result – you are entitled to make a dental negligence compensation claim.
A claim for dentist negligence compensation can arise in a number of scenarios. Dentists acting negligently can cause harm to their patients by failing to diagnose or treat infections, oral cancers and cysts. They can also cause harm by the misapplication of analgesics, anaesthetics, antibiotics and sedatives as well as showing a lack of skill (or failing to apply their skills) with drills, syringes or any of their other instruments.
You may also be entitled to claim compensation for dentist negligence in Ireland if your dentist has insisted that you have a certain procedure done, such as having a tooth removed, when it is not necessary, expensive and potentially harmful.
Time Limits for a Dentist Negligence Compensation Claim
Making a dentist negligence compensation claim can be done from the date when your dentist carried out (or failed to carry out) a procedure negligently or from when you became aware that you had sustained an injury as a result of a procedure or the failure to provide appropriate treatment.
Children have two years from their eighteenth birthday in which to make a claim for dentist negligence compensation – although it is not advised that a claim is delayed any longer than necessary and a parent or guardian should represent them in a dentist negligence compensation claim at the earliest possible opportunity.
Making a Claim for Dentist Negligence Compensation
As dentists are considered to be medical practitioners, you will be unable to recover compensation for dentist negligence via the Injuries Board and will have to engage the services of a solicitor in order to make a dentist negligence compensation claim.
A successful claim for dentist negligence compensation will have to demonstrate that ‘at the time and in the circumstances’ a competent dentist would have chosen a different course of action that would have avoided the injury being sustained.
Therefore, a solicitor would request the release of your dental records in order that they are reviewed by an independent dental specialist, who will determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence of negligence to support a dentist negligence claim.
If such negligence exists, your solicitor will advise you of your available options.