A Derby woman has received tens of thousands of pounds after suffering for years with agonising toothache.
Mrs Laura Barker, from Chaddesden, was left struggling to eat and drink properly, has had to have teeth removed and had her honeymoon ruined by pain that she says resulted from poor dental work.
A former dentist has agreed to pay £30,000 to the 33-year-old higher level teaching consultant who says that her tooth decay was not spotted or treated.
Derbyshire Live has tried to contact the dentist in question via the General Dental Council but it appears that she has not been registered with the Care Quality Commission for several years and the practice where she worked is no longer operating.
The Dental Law Partnership took on Mrs Barker’s case in 2017 and the case was successfully settled this summer when the dentist paid £30,000 in an out-of-court settlement.
The dentist did not admit liability.
Mrs Barker said: “I’d been visiting the practice since I was a child so I trusted she knew what she was doing. You just assume dentists are professionals, don’t you?”
Mrs Barker said that things soon started to go wrong.
“I had toothache so made an appointment but she told me she couldn’t see anything wrong and it must just be stress.
“It seemed a bit odd, but I just assumed she’d know if there was something wrong with my teeth.
“My toothache just got worse and worse,” Mrs Barker said.
“I went back multiple times, but she kept telling me things like ‘everything seems fine’ or ‘there is nothing obviously wrong’ or ‘I can explore it but the cause of your symptoms may not be found’.
“She suggested trying to control the pain with pain killers and I had a couple of fillings at my teeth, but nothing ever made a difference.”
As Mrs Barker’s dental problems grew, they started having a major impact on her life.
“I was struggling to eat and drink properly and found it difficult to work at full capacity because of the pain.
“At my wedding and on my honeymoon in I was anxious about the pain. It was horrible. So many social occasions were ruined and in the end I was just pretending to enjoy them.
“All the while, my dental health never seemed to improve, despite various trips back to the dentist.”
Finally, the extent of Mrs Barker’s dental problems were revealed when she attended an emergency appointment with a new dentist.
“The dentist was shocked at what he found,” Mrs Barker said.
“One of my teeth was immediately extracted and he told me I had decay at my teeth. Suddenly it started to become clear there were real problems with my teeth and my previous dentist hadn’t been doing her job properly.”
Mrs Barker then contacted the Dental Law Partnership.
The law firm says that analysis of her dental records revealed that there had been a consistent failure to spot and treat decay that was clearly visible on X-ray films taken when Mrs Barker first started complaining about toothache.
She has now lost four teeth, will lose more in future, and faces extensive corrective treatment including implant placements and crown replacement cycles.
“It’s unbelievable really,” Mrs Barker said.
“All this misery and pain was down to the dentist. I returned to see her again and again, but she never did anything to help. I’ve been left self-conscious and embarrassed. I’ll never trust a dentist again.”
Jonathan Owen of the Dental Law Partnership commented: “The distress and pain our client has experienced was completely unnecessary.
“If adequate treatment had been carried out in the first place, all her problems could have been avoided.”