Ms C complained about the treatment she received when she saw a dentist after a bridge that replaced some of her teeth had come off. She said that the dentist had inadvertently fractured the porcelain when cleaning the bridge. She said that they then made a temporary repair, but on the following day, part of the bridge shattered.
We took independent dental advice on Ms C's complaint. The adviser noted the bridge had been in need of replacement, but that there had been a lack of care by the dentist in fracturing the porcelain on the bridge. We therefore upheld this aspect of Mr C's complaint. However, we found that, as this had been an emergency appointment, it had been reasonable for the dentist to carry out a temporary repair and then refer Ms C to her usual dentist for further treatment.
Ms C also complained about the care and treatment she received when she saw her usual dentist. They agreed to refer her to a consultant in restorative dentistry. The consultant sent a report to Ms C's usual dentist with their findings after examining Ms C. In their report, they said that she may need to have some teeth extracted, but they would be quite hopeful that another tooth was relatively sound and could be used to support a bridge. They also suggested that she could have orthodontic treatment for this tooth and implants to replace the teeth that were to be extracted. However, after receiving the report, Ms C's usual dentist extracted this tooth along with the other teeth supporting the bridge.
We also took independent dental advice on this aspect of Ms C's complaint. We found that there was no evidence that Ms C had been adequately advised of her options for replacing the original bridge. Ms C's usual dentist had also failed to record his reasons for extracting what the consultant thought was a relatively sound tooth. We did not consider that there was evidence that Ms C's usual dentist had provided reasonable treatment to Ms C and we also upheld this aspect of her complaint.
Finally, Ms C complained that the dental practice had failed to reasonably respond to her complaint about the dental treatment. We found that the practice had acted in line with their policy for handling patient complaints. In addition, their response about the porcelain fracture on the bridge had been reasonable. However, the practice had failed to respond adequately to Ms C's comments about unnecessary work being carried out. In view of this, we upheld the complaint.
Redress and recommendations
The Ombudsman recommends that Dentist 2:
- issues a written apology to Ms C for the failure to record that they adequately advised her of the reasons for extracting tooth 12 or the options in respect of the replacement of the failed bridge; and;
- in the event that they are unable to provide an x-ray showing that it was reasonable to remove tooth 12, they should refund Ms C for the cost of having to have an implant fitted to replace tooth 12, due to the failure to record why they did not follow the advice of the dental hospital or that they had fully discussed this with Ms C. This should be done on receipt of appropriate invoices when treatment has been completed.
The Ombudsman recommends that the Practice:
- issue a written apology to Ms C for the failure to adequately investigate or respond to her comments about unnecessary work being carried out.