Mum left 'permanently disfigured' after botched dental procedure

Claire Shorrock's swollen face after being burnt by bleach
-Credit: (Image: Dental Law Partnership/SWNS)

A mum has been left with permanent facial disfigurement after a routine dental procedure went horribly wrong. Claire Shorrock, 38, experienced severe swelling and was rushed to hospital in "significant distress" following a root canal treatment.

The teaching assistant from Preston revealed that the dentist had failed to place a preventative guard in her mouth before starting the procedure. As a result, sodium hypochlorite filled her mouth and seeped into her tissue. Despite the swelling eventually subsiding, Claire's lip has been permanently altered since the incident.

She shared: "My young children, one of whom is autistic, found my face terrifying and I was reduced to wearing a Covid mask at home to hide the swelling. My top lip remained numb for a couple of weeks, but once the numbness wore off I was left with constant pain from infection which reduced me to only eating slimming shakes and my lip has been permanently altered since."

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Claire had been a patient at her local practice between 2008 and 2020, where she was primarily treated by two dentists. In 2019, she began experiencing persistent issues with one of her upper teeth, leading to multiple infections after a filling fell out and the replacement crown also failed, reports the Mirror.

In 2020, Claire was informed she required a root canal due to tooth decay. Recounting the traumatic experience, she said: "As soon as the dentist started drilling into my tooth, I was hit by an overwhelming bleach smell and started experiencing shooting pain in my face. It was absolutely unbearable and I couldn't help screaming."

"The dentist thought I had gone into anaphylactic shock as my face started swelling so quickly, and I was sent to hospital in an ambulance," she continued. The Dental Law Partnership (DLP) conducted an analysis which suggested that multiple dental errors were made under the care of her two dentists.

The DLP's findings indicated that had the initial dentist provided better treatment, the severe decay that necessitated the root canal might have been prevented. Furthermore, it was alleged that if the second dentist had employed proper guards, Claire would not have suffered the hypochlorite injury that led to her hospitalisation.

Due to untreated decay, Claire also faced the removal of two teeth and may require up to four implants. She shared her ongoing distress, stating: "I still have nightmares about my hospital experience and feel extremely nervous about attending the dentist now. The whole experience has affected me so much."

"I can feel my altered lip every time I talk, my speech has changed and I am still dealing with multiple dental issues, including the gaps left in my mouth following the extractions which will require costly implants." In the end, Claire pursued legal action and received a £14,500 settlement out of court, although neither dentist accepted responsibility.

Tim Armitage, from the Dental Law Partnership, commented: "The significant distress and pain our client has experienced was completely unnecessary. If the dentists involved had provided more satisfactory treatment, her problems could have been avoided."

Claire Shorrock before she had the procedure
Claire Shorrock before she had the procedure