A pensioner from Peterborough has won £8,000 in compensation from his city dentist after the practice failed to spot and treat decay leading the retiree to suffer from infections and abscesses of the mouth.
Daniel Lomax’s dentist failed to treat decay which led to months of painful infections, numerous abscesses, the imminent loss of a tooth, and the need for further corrective treatment.
Between 2010 and 2015, Mr Lomax, 70, saw Dr Jose Bernaza of My Dentist on Fulbridge Road in Peterborough, for regular check-ups. His problems began in 2015 when he had fillings placed on two adjacent teeth.
“When I had the fillings placed everything initially felt fine,” Mr Lomax recalls. “Dr Bernaza said I needed them, and I trusted he was right and would do a good job. He’d been my dentist for years.”
But Mr Lomax soon started experiencing pain when biting. So he returned to see Dr Bernaza in June 2015. The dentist prescribed antibiotics but did not recommend any further treatment.
Feeling concerned, and in pain, Mr Lomax saw a new dentist the following month. The new dentist had to drain two abscesses that had appeared at the two teeth Dr Bernaza had treated. However, the abscesses kept returning and had to be drained on two further occasions between September 2015 and October 2015. Mr Lomax was then told he needed root canal treatment on both teeth to resolve the problem.
“Putting the pain and infections aside, I was very frustrated,” Mr Lomax explained. “I’d been back and forth to the dentist so many times in the space of a few months. The fillings Dr Bernaza fitted seemed to have caused more harm than good. I thought the root canal treatment would finally resolve the problems, but it didn’t.”
In January 2016 Mr Lomax was still suffering from excruciating pain and another abscess had appeared. His new dentist advised that root canal treatment at one of the teeth had failed, and as a result, the tooth would need to be extracted.
“I was really upset,” Mr Lomax said. “I’d spent months struggling to eat properly and had been on an all liquid diet because it hurt when I ate. So to be told my tooth couldn’t be saved after all this, and the many visits to the dentist, was soul destroying.”
Mr Lomax contacted the Dental Law Partnership. Analysis of his dental records revealed that Dr Bernaza had failed to spot and treat decay that had been clearly visible on X-rays the dentist took as far back as 2010. But instead of treating the decay Dr Bernaza had fitted fillings over it. The subsequent root canal treatment undertaken by the new dentist also failed because the decay had been left untreated for so long.
“I was shocked,” Mr Lomax said. “If Dr Bernaza had done his job properly and addressed the problem sooner I wouldn’t be losing my tooth. I wouldn’t have struggled to eat properly, or had to live with the endless abscesses either. To make matters worse, a crown will need to be fitted on my other tooth in the future which will mean yet more time at the dentist. It’s unbelievable.”
Georgina France of the Dental Law Partnership said: “What our client went through was completely unnecessary. If the dentist had spotted and treated decay in the first place the infections and tooth loss could have been avoided. We hope the compensation received goes some way towards paying for the corrective treatment required.”
The Dental Law Partnership took on Mr Lomax’s case in October 2015. The case was successfully settled in April 2017 when the dentist paid £8,000 in an out of court settlement. The dentist did not admit liability.