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Claiming Compensation For Accidents At Dental Clinics
Cosmetic dental procedures have exploded in popularity over the past ten years, with annual sales in the UK estimated to exceed £1 billion. Research by the British Dental Association (BDA) has found that one in two people in the UK would consider cosmetic dental treatment, and the most sought-after aesthetic improvement is tooth whitening. Both the BDA and the British Dental Health Foundation recommend that tooth whitening should be carried out by a qualified dentist following a professional assessment of its effects on a particular individual.
The growing demand for tooth whitening has made it increasingly accessible, and prices have fallen accordingly. A number of high street chemists including Boots and Superdrug now offer 'drop-in' dental services to customers, while beauty salons and spas have also added tooth whitening to their list of services. Typically they offered treatments at around half the price of a traditional dental surgery.
Negligent Tooth Whitening Treatments
Tooth whitening is a complicated procedure involving the application of corrosive chemicals to sensitive areas of the mouth. In the hands of unqualified, inexperienced practitioners the potential for such an invasive treatment to go wrong is clear. Dental negligence (also known as medical or clinical negligence) may be proved if a person is subjected to prolonged pain, if enamel is eroded to such an extent that teeth fall out, or if the aesthetic results of a treatment are not at all as advertised. Where negligence on the part of a salon or its staff can be proved, customers may seek compensation for both physical injures and resulting emotional trauma.
Tooth Whitening Treatment Complications
Tooth whitening is most effectively achieved by the application of solutions containing hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide or chlorine dioxide; chemicals which are then activated by shining laser light onto the teeth. The major threat from tooth whitening is posed by the chemical ingredients themselves, especially hydrogen peroxide. It is a criminal offence under the EU's Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 2008 to professionally supply products containing more than 0.1% of this chemical. It has however been found that some home whitening solutions contain up to 200 times this amount, while the most common tooth whitening agents contain an average of 3.6% hydrogen peroxide.
The long-term effects that such bleaching agents may have on teeth themselves are still subject to research, however in the short-term, poorly applied solutions may leak and cause acidic burns to gums and lips. This may lead to blistering, bleeding or hypersensitivity, and in extreme cases skin grafts may be required to correct such damage. Chemicals may also be ingested, causing damage to stomach lining.
Claiming Compensation For Tooth Whitening Accidents
We have recently dealt with cases in which tooth whitening procedures have gone disastrously wrong for clients. In the resulting compensation claims we have recovered damages for pain and suffering, as well as medical and travel expenses and loss of earnings for time off work.
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