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Case Study

Dentist caused lingual nerve damage and sensory loss with polishing tool

Lindsay Holt settled a claim on behalf of a 73-year-old woman who was left with lingual nerve damage, pain and loss of sense of taste after a dentist lacerated her mouth with a rotating polishing tool.

The woman, Joyce*, went to her dentist for emergency treatment for a fractured tooth. The dentist filled the tooth and then proceeded to polish the area using the rotating disc, which lacerated the junction between Joyce's tongue and the floor of her mouth, causing severe pain and a distressing amount of blood loss. Joyce was told to use salt mouth wash and to let the wound heal.

Lindsay's client

Despite returning to the dentist several times to express her concerns about ongoing discomfort, numbness, and a burning sensation, Joyce was simply told each time to let the wound heal.

Eventually, she want to another dentist and was immediately referred to a Professor of Oral Surgery at Kings College Dental Hospital. The referral noted that Joyce was a very nervous patient following the incident and had been left her with a sensation of severe burning and numbness in her tongue, affecting her ability to eat. Joyce was subsequently diagnosed right partial lingual painful post traumatic neuropathy subsequent to the polishing disc slipping during the appointment.

Once instructed, Lindsay received an expert report critical of the original dentist. The General Dental Council, which was alerted to the incident, also heavily criticised the defendant. Despite this, the defendant strenuously denied any fault, claiming Joyce had leapt out of the chair, but subsequently offered the full value of the claim in settlement.

Joyce has since undergone psychological treatment for her injuries at Kings College Hospital.

Following settlement, Joyce said: "I was thinking about the support I have had from you and your team and I would say that not only does one need the right legal guidance through a complex process but almost more importantly you need understanding and acknowledgement of your trauma from those working on your case.

"I have to commend all of you for your kindness and support for me in relation to this injury. I am sure that you must have to deal with some horrific circumstances with other clients and I now see that excellence in your profession requires far more skills than just legal expertise."

*name changed

Contact us

For further information about medical negligence compensation claims, please call Lindsay Holt on 0161 268 8613 or email


All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win no fee. Find out more about no win no fee claims.

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