Dental injury

Patients are increasingly applying for compensation after sustaining injuries caused by a dentist. You should be aware that you will not normally be entitled to compensation from NPE if the financial loss you incur is less than NOK 10,000.

Print Bokmål | Nynorsk | 9. October 2019

Failure of care

The vast majority of cases that are approved concern inadequate treatment. Typical examples are incomplete root canal work, poor crown or bridge fitting, and inadequate follow-up over a number of years. In some cases, it is also evident that there was no basis for providing the treatment. In this case, it is often a question of teeth being removed unnecessarily.

The most common forms of dental injury concern the loss or fracture of a tooth or implant, pain, infection or nerve damage, or the applicant being dissatisfied with the aesthetic outcome.

Failure of diagnosis

This usually concerns cases where findings have not been followed up, or where the investigations carried out were inadequate. These cases largely concern the late diagnosis of tooth decay or gum disease (periodontitis).

Claims under NOK 10,000

You will not be able to claim compensation from NPE if you only incur a financial loss of less than NOK 10,000. You should contact the treatment provider where the injury occurred directly instead. Some applicants do not have their applications approved even if there has been a failure of care because their financial loss was less than NOK 10,000.

Examples of cases where dental injury results in a loss of less or more than NOK 10,000.

Extraction of molar - rejection

A woman had extensive tooth decay in a first molar, with the result that the tooth had to be removed. The tooth was so firmly embedded that it had to be broken up in order to extract the roots. Damage was caused to the neighbouring tooth in front when the drill that the dentist was using penetrated deep into it. The damage was so extensive that the root of the tooth had to be filled by a specialist before a new filling could be applied to the top of the tooth.

NPE’s assessment

There was a basis for extracting the first molar. The extraction was largely carried out correctly, with the exception of the damage caused to the neighbouring tooth. The dentist who drilled into the neighbouring tooth while breaking up the molar should have been able to avoid doing this. The treatment was probably not in line with generally accepted dental practice.

The applicant is likely to be entitled to compensation for having to have the root of the neighbouring tooth filled and a new filling added. She paid NOK 6,000 for the root filling by a specialist, and the filling was done by her regular dentist free of charge. The statutory requirement is that the loss must amount to at least NOK 10,000 in order for it to be covered by the patient injury system. The woman’s application for compensation was therefore rejected.

Extraction of molar - approval

A man suffered extensive damage to a second molar, which meant that the tooth had to be removed. As part of the extraction process, the tooth had to be broken into two. The dentist drilled too far into the tooth and damaged the root of the first molar in front. The tooth was saved through root-filling and by fitting a crown to the top of the tooth.

NPE’s assessment

There was a basis for extracting the second molar. The dentist who drilled into the neighbouring tooth while breaking up the molar should have been able to avoid doing this. The treatment was probably not in line with generally accepted dental practice.

The man paid NOK 8,500 kroner to the specialist, who examined and filled the root of the tooth and checked the results three months later. He also paid NOK 8,000 for two temporary fillings and for the crown that had to be fitted to the damaged tooth. His total expenses came to just under NOK 17,000. This is more than the minimum requirement of NOK 10,000. His application for compensation was approved.