Suing a dentist for negligence

Suing a dentist for negligence is not always a straightforward thing. Often, cases that are hurriedly put together suffer defeat, no matter if the dentist has been negligent or not. Dental Negligence, similar to medical negligence requires a special kind of solicitor to handle the lawsuit. A dental negligence solicitor will know that negligence or malpractice lawsuits need to meet four particular criteria in order to establish proof. The four criteria are:

  1. Damages
  2. Duty
  3. Causation
  4. Breach

What are the actual damages?

This is often the viewed as the final component that is needed to prove that someone has been a victim of dental negligence. However, it should be the first one to look at since unless there are damages, then there is little to no point in pursuing a legal challenge against the dentist.

A charge is levelled at the plaintiff to prove the that their dentist did breach the standard of care expected and in the process caused harm. The type of damages suffered tend to be broken teeth to nerve damage, plus the financial cost of righting the mistakes of the dentist. Damages can include the loss of a winning smile, that because of the poor workmanship of the dentist is never to return. So long as the causes of the damages where as a result of the dentists’ breach of duty, there is a case to be heard.

How does a dentist breach their duty?

There is a legal duty that every dentist is signed up to that keeps them in line with certain high standards of oral care when treating their patients. Whatever dental procedure someone has there are no guarantees that the end results will be a success or will help to prevent further complications in the future. It’s worth noting that just because the final outcome is not exactly as hoped for it doesn’t necessarily mean that the orthodontist is guilty of malpractice.

That being said, there are clear cases when an orthodontist does breach the standards of care, for instance, by removing the wrong tooth, breaking or damaging teach, causing nerve damage because of poorly fitting implants. Then there are the not so clear cases that are helped with the expert witness testimony of a dental practitioner, in most cases this is a licensed dentist with many years of experience in all aspect of orthodontia.

For example, when a suing a dentist for breach of care, let’s say due to poorly fitting dental implants, then the expert witness will usually have a background in fitting dental implants.

Can causation be proved?

When proving dental negligence claims, one of the most important criteria is causation. It’s quite possible for the dentist to have breached their duty of care without actually causing any initial damage. The question is, is there a relationship between the injury that the victim has sustain and the dentists breach of their duty of care. If the injury results as a direct result of the dentists’ actions, then there is a claim to be made.

On the other hand, if the injury would have occurred regardless of the action of the dentist, then there is no relationship formed between the injury and the orthodontist actions and in those cases, it would not be advised to pursue a dental negligence claim.


The four basic criteria required to form the foundation of a successful dental negligence claim are Duty, Breach of Duty, Causation & Damages. On the premise of being able to present a basic showing of all of these four criteria, then a legal case would usually be taken up. Getting an experts opinion on certain cases, is a must if the prosecuting case is to have enough weight of evidence to persuade a judge or jury of malpractice. If in doubt, specialist dental negligence solicitors will on most occasions be willing to have a free consultation on the matter.