A Change In The Face of Den­tistry

Lancashire Life - - EDUCATION -

Over the last 10 years there has been a huge change in cos­metic den­tistry with a move away from the use of crowns or ve­neers, to­wards tech­niques to or­thodon­ti­cally align and whiten the front teeth.

There has been a large in­crease in the number of adults seek­ing or­thodon­tic treat­ment for cos­metic pur­poses. In turn this has led to an in­crease in the number of claims. The de­mand for an “LA smile” has grown, as it has be­come more ac­ces­si­ble and more af­ford­able. This may be achieved by crowns, ve­neers, braces, teeth whiten­ing and gum pro­ce­dures, or a com­bi­na­tion of these.

Oc­ca­sion­ally things don’t al­ways go as planned. Here we will look at the dif­fer­ent op­tions and the risks as­so­ci­ated with treatments and what you can po­ten­tially claim for.

This de­pends on in­di­vid­ual pref­er­ence, and your clin­i­cian should ex­plore this with you. The less in­va­sive tech­niques cause less po­ten­tial dam­age to the nat­u­ral teeth. Fixed braces can be painful, cause dam­age to tooth enamel, and can re­veal dis­coloura­tion when re­moved. It is some­times dif­fi­cult to eat and they can cause painful mouth ul­cers.

Crowns are favoured by older patients for bro­ken teeth. Ve­neers pro­vide a quicker so­lu­tion than or­thodon­tic treat­ment Both are more in­va­sive and tend to cause more dam­age to nat­u­ral teeth.

Ul­ti­mately, it de­pends on; what you are try­ing to achieve, previous treat­ment, age, suit­abil­ity and time­frame for achiev­ing your de­sired re­sult. A stepped approach may be best. A case plan, which demon­strates the end re­sult. It should de­tail the treat­ment process, cost, time­frame, life­span of the pro­posed work, risks and prob­a­bil­i­ties of them oc­cur­ring and knowl­edge of the op­tions.

This is an essential part of the ‘con­sent’ process. It is likely that the pa­tient will sign a con­sent form, or where the pro­ce­dure is com­plex a more de­tailed case spe­cific let­ter. Ex­pe­ri­ence, qual­i­fi­ca­tion, rec­om­men­da­tion, com­pe­tency and a will­ing­ness to re­fer to or­thodon­tic spe­cial­ist when re­quired. They should know their lim­its, man­age ex­pec­ta­tions and re­fer ac­cord­ingly. • Frac­ture of the tooth and re­peat de-bond­ing of ve­neers caus­ing dis­com­fort.

• Stain­ing around the ve­neer over time or cracked ve­neers re­duc­ing the cos­metic ap­pear­ance.

• The ap­pli­ca­tion of ve­neers is a del­i­cate process and sub­stan­dard work can lead to sen­si­tiv­ity, de­cay and ex­trac­tion.

• Badly fit­ted crowns may cause sig­nif­i­cant dam­age to un­der­ly­ing teeth which can lead to de­cay and in­fec­tion.

• Us­ing chem­i­cal treatments or lasers to whiten teeth can weaken enamel and lead to de­cay.

• Where the gum is drawn back too far when at­tempt­ing to make the teeth ap­pear straighter. • Sub­stan­dard (neg­li­gent) treat­ment • Den­tal mis­di­ag­no­sis, such as failure

to recog­nise an un­der­ly­ing con­di­tion. • Were all the op­tions given,

in­clud­ing the least de­struc­tive? • Op­por­tu­nity to see the ex­pected

cos­metic out­come?

• Was the pa­tient ad­e­quately

in­formed of all the risks?

• Were all the nec­es­sary com­pro­mises to the ideal out­come ex­plained?

• Sat­is­fac­tory case plan­ning recorded in the notes with pre­op­er­a­tive pho­to­graphs and x-rays.

This de­pends on what can be proved. It could in­clude a claim for the pain and suf­fer­ing as­so­ci­ated with the pro­ce­dure. This might also in­clude a men­tal el­e­ment. There might be a claim for the cost of cor­rec­tive treat­ment and any losses that flow, such as time off work.

If you have suf­fered due to den­tal neg­li­gence we can help you as­sess whether you have a claim and ad­vise you on the best course of ac­tion re­gard­ing ob­tain­ing com­pen­sa­tion. We han­dle everything on a no win, no fee ba­sis and will do everything we can to help you get your smile back.

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