Have you suffered from Dental Negligence*?

As there has been a growth in general orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry in recent years, unfortunately this has simultaneously resulted in a marked increase in dental negligence cases.

Dentists have an obligation under the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 to conduct procedures to a high standard.

These medical negligence cases tend to be of a complex nature, and therefore are not undertaken by the Injuries Board (formerly PIAB)

Categories of dental negligence

Dental negligence can result in injuries that influence both the physical appearance and general health of a patient and can include the work of the following practitioners:

  • General dentists
  • Orthodontists
  • Periodontists
  • Prosthodontists (prosthetic dentistry)

The most common claims for dental negligence are in procedures which fall under the following categories:

Prosthodontics – dealing with missing teeth and more specifically the diagnosis, treatment, maintenance, appearance and health of patients with missing teeth.

Endodontics – dealing with tooth pulp and tissue around the root of the tooth. Procedures can include root canal, surgeries for cracked teeth or dental trauma.

Restorative dentistry – combining prosthodontics, periodontics (gum specialists) and endodontics to give multi-faceted care and rehabilitate the teeth. Procedures include veneers and fillings.

Misdiagnosis - defined as preventable adverse effect of care, including inaccurate diagnosis of treatment of disease or injury.

General dental negligence – including the failure to detect problems that should have been found, failure to obtain informed consent, problems with anaesthesia and unnecessary removal of teeth.

The grounds for a dental negligence case must not solely lie with a dissatisfaction with service received. It must be proved that a dentist failed to fulfil his/her duty of care to the patient, whether this be through a mistake made during a procedure, a misdiagnosis or indeed a failure to diagnosis

Particular examples of Dental Negligence:

Nerve damage
Anaesthesia may not work or may damage the nerve. Local injections into the nerve can result in long term or permanent numbness.

Cavity filling
A filling may be carried out incorrectly, leading to infection or can result in a requirement for a crown to be placed over a tooth.

Root canal work
A dentist may not find or clean out all roots prior to applying a crown. In these circumstances periodontal disease can persist, leading ultimately to tooth removal and replacement with a bridge or an artificial tooth.

If a crown or veneer doesn’t match the bite surface of the original tooth this can lead to chronic dental pain.

Cosmetic Dentistry Errors

As with all dental procedures, sometimes adverse outcomes occur in dental treatment for non-negligent reasons.

For a case of dental negligence to be proven, causation and error on the part of the dental practitioner needs to be established.

There are many different types of dental procedures so your specific dental issue may not be mentioned above.


If you would like to speak to one of our  solicitors, please contact us on 01-5313800 or email Kathrin Coleman or Marguerite Baily to discuss further.

*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with RE.8 of SI 518 of 2002.