QUESTION - Unhappy with dental treatment several years ago
The main reason for my question, is whether there is much can be done about a treatment undertaken in 2007 on NHS in England. I am a 25 year old female, and would have been 21 at time of treatment.
- In approx Aug/Sept 2007, I was in intolerable agony from pain in one of my lower-right molars. Tried to get emergency appt in the late afternoon/early evening, but could not so had to unfortunately wait until the next day.
- When I finally got my appt, I saw a dentist who after performing checks said she could either undertake root canal treatment (which she said was not guaranteed to solve the problem and may make it worse), or have the tooth removed. Because the pain was so unbearable and I was a bit emotional from taking anti-depressants, I found myself almost begging to have the tooth removed.
- Dentist removed tooth using numbing method and some sort of plier instrument, had to use a lot of force due to deep roots. As she pulled up with a mighty yank, she managed to knock the tooth above it. As my mouth was numb, I didn’t feel any pain and therefore didn’t think anything of it.
Unfortunately, once the numbness wore off, I realised the tooth had been cracked and it also started to hurt, a lot. So much so, that I had to take action to get this tooth removed too which resulted in me being left with a gap where an upper and lower molar have been removed, with a tooth either side of this gap.
- I was concerned about having a gap in my mouth especially where my “chewing teeth” go, but Dentist assured me that I could “survive just fine” without them. As I was in an emotionally dulled state as a result of taking antidepressants (and t to be honest, relieved to be free of pain), I went away on this advice without further comment. (N.B. I am no longer taking this medication)
- As time as passed, I have therefore placed more pressure on the left hand side of my mouth (where one of my molars already had quite a big filling present from childhood). Its filling was replaced in early 2011, where a new dentist (at same practice) saw me and expressed concern at the state of the left molar, and the fact that the teeth on the right hand side appear to be “caving in” from the gap being there. Over past few months, I have come to find it difficult to eat any kind of food using the left hand side, and often find a dull aching pain results from any chewing activity. Because there is mainly gum on the right hand side, this can also cause aggravation. Its become evident to me, that I cannot continue to have this gap in my mouth for all the problems its causing.
- My new dentist (at same practice) has expressed concern about the gap in my teeth, and has been trying to encourage me to seek getting dental implants fitted, which she advised could possibly cost circa £3,000 for what I need done (money I just don’t have!). I mentioned to her about how the upper one shouldn’t have even been taken away in the first place if it hadn’t been cracked, she told me the best she could advise would for me to look into their complaints procedure.
My question is, is it viable to put in a complaint for something that happened in 2007? And would it be a poor reflection on myself for not approaching them with it sooner?
A useful webpage for you to read is this one from NHS Choices about Complaints: http://www.nhs.uk/choiceintheNHS/Rightsandpledges/complaints/Pages/NHScomplaints.aspx
The webpage says “If you’re not happy with the care or treatment you’ve received or you’ve been refused treatment for a condition, you have the right to complain, have your complaint investigated, and be given a full and prompt reply.”
However it also has a section ”When should I complain?” And the answer is “As soon as possible. Complaints should normally be made within 12 months of the date of the event that you’re complaining about, or as soon as the matter first came to your attention. The time limit can sometimes be extended (so long as it’s still possible to investigate the complaint). An extension might be possible, such as in situations where it would have been difficult for you to complain earlier, for example, when you were grieving or undergoing trauma.”