Botched 'Hollywood smiles' blamed for increase in claims against Lincolnshire dentists
The demand for a perfect 'Hollywood smile' has led to a rise in medical negligence claims – costing Lincolnshire dentists £250,000.
The figure has come from Bridge McFarland solicitors which has dealt with negligence claims ranging from £5,000 to £50,000 in the last three years.
The firm's medical negligence specialist, Stephanie Lock, said that lack of NHS dentistry and the fact that more people were now paying for private treatment was also contributing to a rise in complaints.
"People paying large fees for private dentistry rightly have high expectations about the quality of the treatment they should receive and that particularly applies to cosmetic treatments," she said.
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"Those expectations are not always being met and people have come to us with complaints about a wide range of procedures including bleaching, the fitting of porcelain veneers, crowns, bridgework, orthodontic work, dental implants, gum grafts and teeth straightening.
"People who require or want cosmetic treatment are usually looking for an improvement in appearance and the boost to confidence that a cosmetic treatment or a 'Hollywood smile' can bring. When patients are left unhappy with the results, it can be very traumatic and a real blow to self-esteem."
Another Lincolnshire based medical negligence solicitor believes that a lack of training for some dentists has led to the increase in claims.
Helen Rundle, of Langleys, said: "I think the reason for the increase in claims is that more and more dentists are offering cosmetic dentistry to suit the growing demand to have a 'Hollywood' smile.
"Such dentists may not specialise in this area or have the necessary expertise.
"It is important that anyone who wishes to undergo such cosmetic treatments ensures that their dentist carries the appropriate insurance as we are still finding that some dentists are not necessarily insured.
"I would expect the number of claims to rise in accordance with growing demand."
While all dentists have to be registered with the General Dental Council, dental experts recommend plenty of research before going for cosmetic work.
Doctor Martin Fallowfield, chairman of the British Dental Association principal executive committee, said: "Patients increasingly want smiles that are not only healthy, but also visually attractive.
"Aesthetic dentistry has advanced significantly in recent years and offers a wide range of options for patients seeking to improve the appearance of their dentition.
"Before starting treatment a patient should make sure they understand what treatment will involve, how long it will take and what it will cost.
"A good dentist should be happy to explain all of this."