A DENTAL patient has been awarded £20,000 in compensation after her childhood dentists failed to treat and spot her tooth decay.

Amy Matthews, a learning support assistant from Whitehaven, will eventually lose teeth as a result of her dentist failing to diagnose and treat her tooth decay throughout her childhood.

The 27-year-old has been awarded the compensation from her childhood dentists with the help of specialist dental negligence solicitors the Dental Law Partnership.

Ms Matthews had visited Normanby Dental, owned by Dr Richard Neil Kerruish in Middlesbrough for thirteen years and had multiple treatments over the course of many visits.

She said: “I had visited the practice since childhood. I never suspected anything was wrong with the treatment and didn’t have any issues with it.

“It all started when my temporary filling fell out and I was in so much pain, ibuprofen was not helping. I went to an emergency dentist who gave me a temporary filling and antibiotics and said I would need a permanent filling and later root canal treatment.

News and Star: Large areas of untreated decay in lower left first molar and upper left teethLarge areas of untreated decay in lower left first molar and upper left teeth (Image: Submitted)

“I spoke to my usual NHS dentist who said that due to Covid they couldn’t do anything at that time. I called the emergency dentist again who said to take the temporary filling out to air it. This helped temporarily, however, due to the gaping hole in my infected tooth it then became very painful”.

“I went to my usual dentist who put another temporary filling in, however this soon resulted in more pain so I returned to the practice to be told they couldn’t take out the tooth and instead needed to chisel the temporary filling down.

During this period, the left side of my face became swollen and I was bedridden for a week and unable to sleep. I had a strict routine of taking painkillers and waking up hourly in agony as they wore off.”

Ms Matthews was given antibiotics and told she needed a root canal, however due to Covid she had to do the first half of the treatment privately which cost  £150 and then the second half on the NHS which was £60, not including the cost of the crown.

News and Star: Amy Matthews, from Whitehaven, has been awarded £20,000 in compensation from childhood dentistAmy Matthews, from Whitehaven, has been awarded £20,000 in compensation from childhood dentist (Image: Submitted)

She said: “I contacted the Dental Law Partnership at the start of Covid and they investigated my case. It came to light that my issues were from the treatment I’d received from the dentists at Normanby Dental.

“After thorough examination of my records they discovered that ten different teeth had been badly treated and the gradual deterioration of them was not picked up. It was also found that I should have been given treatment like fluoride toothpaste years before I eventually had it”.

Speaking about her teeth, Ms Matthews said: “I’m now left with the fact hanging over me that within ten to fifteen years the other teeth will need to come out.

“One particularly problematic tooth has a massive gap and I want to go to the dentist to resolve this but I am anxious about it due to this traumatic ordeal and have been putting up with the resulting toothache. I may also eventually have to have implants for some of my other teeth which should have been avoided”.

News and Star: Amy Matthews was bedridden for a week in agonising painAmy Matthews was bedridden for a week in agonising pain (Image: Submitted)

The Dental Law Partnership’s analysis of her dental records revealed that if the dentists at the practice had used reasonable care and skill, she would have not suffered the avoidable loss of two of her back teeth, the embarrassment due to a large gap at the front of her mouth and painful repeat infections, alongside difficulty eating and some future injuries.

Tim Armitage of the Dental Law Partnership said: “The distress and pain our client has experienced was completely unnecessary. If the dentists had carried out adequate treatment in the first place, her problems could have been avoided.”

The Dental Law Partnership took on Miss Matthew’s case in 2020. The case was successfully settled in November 2022 when the practice owner paid £20,000. Liability was denied.