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I've had a dental disaster – what can I do?

Hannah Jolliffe / 16 April 2019

When a new crown isn’t up to scratch, what can you do? Discover the options open to you when dental work goes wrong.

Old fashioned dentist sign with a large model tooth hanging beneath it.
What can you do when dental work goes wrong?


I had a new crown fitted by my NHS dentist, but it has come off twice. I don’t trust them to fix it a third time and all the local practices are full, so I can’t switch. What are my options?


It’s understandable that this experience has made you reluctant to return to your current dentist. Your other options are to join an NHS waiting list for treatment by a different dentist or to go private. The former is the cheapest option, but you may have to wait for months, increasing any further risks, discomfort and pain. If you seek private treatment you could probably be seen quickly, but at a higher cost.

‘If you feel your current dentist has acted poorly, you may have grounds to make a clinical negligence claim,’ explains Rachel Sharp, solicitor at Ramsdens Solicitors. ‘This would depend on what the consequences were of the crown not being fitted correctly on more than one occasion.’

The secrets of great teeth

You have three years from your date of knowledge – the date you understood an injury had been caused as a result of the actions of a medical profession – to make a claim. ‘A clinical negligence claim must be supported by medical evidence,’ Rachel advises. ‘In this case, it would need to be supported by a dental expert [engaged by your legal team] who believed the treating dentist had breached their duty of care and that the breach had caused you unnecessary suffering.’

Cut the cost of a trip to the dentist

If you make a successful claim, you may be able to recoup the cost of any private treatment you’ve paid for; if you haven’t had any further treatment, this may then be funded as part of your claim.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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