Northumberland woman gets £20,000 payout after dental errors leave her in agony and with tooth loss

Natalie Gallagher suffered years of poor dental treatment, which resulted in unnecessary tooth loss
Natalie Gallagher suffered years of poor dental treatment, which resulted in unnecessary tooth loss -Credit:Chronicle Live

A hairdresser has been handed £20,000 in compensation after suffering from multiple dental errors.

A lack of diagnosis and poor treatment left Natalie Gallagher, from Berwick, Northumberland, with unnecessary tooth loss and months of agony caused by infections.

The 33-year-old mother said the dental issues left her "whole face throbbing" and reduced her to only eating soup. An investigation by the Dental Law Partnership found that she should have been diagnosed and correctly treated years earlier.

Natalie visited Dr Seyed Nazemi and Dr Ana Mehera at Burgess & Hyder Dental Group, based at The Dental Arches in Berwick, between 2015 and 2020. During this time, she experienced recurring issues with one of her teeth.

She was treated with a filling - which later fell out - and then a root canal as the tooth was continuing to cause her pain. In 2020, Natalie was diagnosed by Dr Mehera with decay in another tooth.

She said: "After the root canal, I experienced pain and swelling in my mouth almost immediately. It was absolute agony and pain killers didn’t touch the sides, meaning I had to get a course of antibiotics and was in pain for a couple of weeks."

Natalie's decayed and infected lower left molar
Natalie's decayed and infected lower left molar -Credit:Chronicle Live

Following this incident, Natalie moved to MyDentist on Castlegate in Berwick, where she was treated by Dr John Clark.

She said: "I didn’t trust the work being done at my previous practice, and once I moved Dr Clark confirmed that the root canal I’d received had been inadequate, so he attempted to help restore the two teeth I’d had issues with.

"Over the next few months, I continued to experience issues with my teeth as, I later learnt, there was still infection remaining within the problem tooth in my top jaw. I couldn’t eat or sleep properly and had to often live with my whole face throbbing. Due to the issues I also had with a bottom tooth, I couldn’t chew on anything so I was on a soup diet for a while."

At the end of 2021, Natalie visited another practice. She was told she had a chronic abscess on one of her problem teeth, which was extracted. She said: "As soon as the tooth came out, the pain was gone and my issues, which I’d struggled through for years, started being resolved."

Natalie decided to contact the Dental Law Partnership in 2022 after being left frustrated with what she had experienced. They took on her case and further analysis revealed that decay should have been acknowledged and correctly treated as far back as 2016.

Natalie Gallagher decided to contact the Dental Law Partnership in 2022
Natalie Gallagher decided to contact the Dental Law Partnership in 2022 -Credit:Chronicle Live

Natalie would have avoided the requirement for multiple root canal treatments and the extraction of one of her teeth if the decay been diagnosed and treated promptly at two teeth. She will now also suffer future loss of a further tooth.

She said: "As well as the months of agony and dietary restrictions my dental issues have caused me, I spent hours attending appointments that could have been avoided, which was particularly stressful and difficult during the pandemic. Now I’ve been left with a fear of the dentist that I didn’t have before, and I will need to undergo implants in the future to fill the gaps left by extractions."

The case was successfully settled in September 2023 when Ms Gallagher was paid £20,000 in an out of court settlement.

The Dental Law Partnership (DLP), established in 2000, is the leading law firm in the UK which specialises in dental negligence.

Jennifer Paine, of the Dental Law Partnership, added: "The distress, pain and inconvenience our client has experienced was completely unnecessary. If the dentists involved had provided sufficient treatment, her problems could have been avoided."

A spokesperson for mydentist said: "We would like to apologise for the experience Ms Gallagher had when under treatment of a self-employed dentist at our Berwick practice, which has since closed. Ensuring patients receive the highest quality dental care when being treated at our practices is our first priority and we’re disappointed that on this rare occasion it fell below our expectations."

Chronicle Live has contacted Burgess & Hyder Dental Group for a comment.