A NIGHTMARE trip to the dentist left a Leamington woman with part of a drill lodged in her jaw.
Alsion Southwood had visited Genix Healthcare in Cirencester for what should have been routine root canal treatment.
But during the procedure at the Gloucestershire surgery an 8mm fragment of dental drill snapped off and became embedded in the 44 year-old jaw bone narrowly missing a nerve.
Dentist Dr Meena Aduma claimed the fractured instrument was ‘a non-negligent complication’ and told Alison not to worry because ‘it happens all the time’.
But Alison sued, and lawyers at the Dental Law Partnership took on Alison’s case and after some 16 months reached an out of court settlement with Dr Aduma for damages £5,500.
Alison, a sales and innovation manager in the water industry, recalled her nightmare visit to the dentist.
She told The Observer: “I immediately knew something was wrong. My mouth was numbed so I couldn’t feel it when the drill snapped off, but a hush descended on the room while the dentist and dental nurse exchanged worried glances between each other before shuffling out for a private discussion.
“When they came back, Dr Aduma explained what had happened and that there was no way to remove the drill, so they were going to simply fill in the hole and send me home.
“I was in shock, just going through the motions and letting them get on with treatment so I could get out of there as soon as possible. When I finally left the chair, clearly visibly shaken, another dentist at the practice tried to calm me down, telling me not to worry, that it happens all the time – they just usually don’t tell the patients! I didn’t know what to say. I was totally dumfounded.”
Despite the settlement, Dr Aduma made no admissions of liability for the incident, which left Alison with a painful and rotting tooth for over six months.
While the tooth has now been removed, Alison will be forced to endure a further six to nine months of remedial treatment, as well as having to accept a gap in her smile until a replacement tooth can be fitted.
Dental Law Partnership senior solicitor Tim Armitage said: “Root canal treatments are carried out routinely and without incident every day.
“Alison’s dentist failed to use reasonable care and skill to ensure the instrumentation was confined to the tooth root canal only and to avoid perforation into the bone. X-rays taken after the treatment confirmed the instrument extended 8mm beyond the base of the tooth.”
A spokeperson for Genix Healthcare said they were committed to ensuring the safety of patients and providing a high quality of dental treatment and care.
He added: “We strive to make sure all patients know and understand the potential risk of any dental procedure they undertake and we enforce vigorous quality assurance protocols to minimise this risk as much as possible.
“We take any patient concerns very seriously – we strive to resolve any issues in a timely and amicable manner on the rare occasions that they arise.”