On Wednesday 17 April 2013 SP had an appointment with Dr RS where root canal therapy of the tooth LL6 was performed. A couple of days later she started to experience considerable pain in the left hand side of her face and in the teeth on that side as well. Over the weekend her pain worsened and swelling developed in the left hand side of her face.
Later that month she had an appointment with the Defendant and an immediate urgent referral was made to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. At the hospital it was noted that the swelling was spreading towards her neck and ear and that she had limited mouth opening which meant that she was struggling to eat. In addition, she had some difficulties with swallowing. She was therefore swiftly transferred to Bradford Royal Infirmary where surgery was undertaken the following day under general anaesthetic to extract LL6 and drain away the infection. During the surgery she was fitted with a drain in her mouth which was kept in for two days.
After discharge from hospital she almost immediately started to experience some paraesthesia in the region of the left inferior dental nerve affecting the lower left lip and chin region. It took around 2 months before these symptoms had started to ease. As mentioned above, during the surgery she had to have a drain fitted within her mouth. Following this, SL has a permanent flap of skin in her mouth where food collects.
The allegations of negligence were that:
- The root filling at LL6 failed to adequately obturate the root canal system of the tooth as in the distal canal of LL6 it was 2mm to 3mm short of the apex of the tooth. In addition, around the root filling at LL6 there were voids particularly in the distal canal and in the coronal part of the root canals.
- Diagnostic radiographs were taken to confirm the working length measurements of the root canals. However, this radiograph was of an inadequate standard as it failed to show the apical region of LL6. Therefore, it was not possible for the claimant to have accurately known the working length measurements of the root canals.
- To confirm the quality of the root filling at LL6 a radiograph was taken after the procedure. However this radiograph only just showed the crowns of the teeth. As a result, she could not have known the quality of the root filling at LL6 and it was impossible for her to confirm that the root filling material had adequately obturated the root canals to the working length.
An offer of £7000 was put forward by the Defendant’s lawyers and after negotiation, that was increased to £11,500.