Mother is awarded £18,000 after suffering a decade of ‘poor’ dentistry including a ‘horrific’ tooth extraction which she claims led to her suffering a miscarriage
- Kenza Hancock went to her dentist in 2008 but he failed to treat tooth decay
- Over the next few years Mrs Hancock had botched fillings and root canal
- She believes an agonising failed tooth extraction caused her to miscarriage
A mother who suffered a decade of poor dental care preceding her miscarriage has been awarded £18,000.
Kenza Hancock, 35, first reported toothache to her dentist Dr Vachik Avakian of Cecil Street Dental Surgery, Plymouth, in early 2008.
Dr Vachik Avakian allegedly failed to spot and treat tooth decay adequately, which led to years of pain and more dental work.
After multiple attempts to address the problem, Mrs Hancock underwent a failed tooth extraction while nine weeks pregnant in 2017.
A second dentist finished the job two weeks later and when Mrs Hancock got home, she was rushed to hospital suffering a miscarriage.
Mrs Hancock, from Callington, Cornwall, believes the ‘never-ending trauma’ on her body from the extraction attempt caused her to lose her unborn baby.
The NHS denies that such a link exists, saying a woman’s emotional state during pregnancy does not increase their risk of miscarriage, and encourage visiting the dentist for check-ups during pregnancy.
Dr Avakian did not admit liability for the case which was settled out of court.
Kenza Hancock, 35, suffered a decade of botched dental work and has been given a payout of £18,000. Pictured with her daughter Isabella, seven, and one-year-old Leia, with husband Jonathan, 39
Analysis of her dental records by Dental Law Partnership revealed Dr Avakian had failed to treat decay on two of her teeth and the fillings and root canal treatment were also inadequate. Pictured, Mrs Hancock’s swelling after the tooth extraction in June 2017
Solicitors said Dr Avakian did not use reasonable skill and care when attempting to extract her wisdom tooth, pictured on the left
Mrs Hancock is mother to Isabella, seven, and one-year-old Leia, with husband Jonathan, 39, who works for a concrete drilling company.
She contacted the dental negligence solicitors at Dental Law Partnership, which alleged Dr Avakian had failed to use reasonable skill and care when treating Mrs Hancock.
Mrs Hancock, who works in a pharmacy, said: ‘In early 2008 I was suffering from toothache so made an appointment with Dr Avakian.
‘He’d been my dentist for a long time so I trusted him to resolve the situation. I thought it would be fairly routine.
‘I had to go back to see him the following month. This time he told me I needed root canal treatment and another filling.
‘Again, I trusted Dr Avakian knew what he was doing and thought this would be the end of it.’
Mrs Hancock said she trusted her dentist who she had been visiting for a long time
Mrs Hancock, from Callington, Cornwall, believes the ‘the never-ending trauma’ on her body from the extraction attempt caused her to lose her unborn baby with Mr Hancock
CAN TRAUMA OR DENTAL WORK CAUSE A MISCARRIAGE?
There is no evidence that stress can cause a miscarriage and the NHS list this as a misconception about early pregnancy miscarriage.
Dentist work is also safe – and encouraged – while pregnant.
Obstetricians generally do not accept that healthy women can lose healthy babies solely because of stress, although some studies on mice have suggested so.
Scientists at University College London and Zhejang University in China found that the risk of miscarriage was significantly higher in women with a long history of stress in their lives.
If a miscarriage happens during the first trimester of pregnancy, the first three months, it’s usually because there is a problem with the unborn baby. About 75 per cent of miscarriages happen in this period.
After that, it may be a result of underlying health conditions in the mother.
Late miscarriages may also be caused by an infection around the baby, the NHS states. However there is no indication this can be caused by dental work.
Most dental work while pregnant is safe. But it is recommended to leave unnecessary dental work until after the birth.
However, sometimes procedures such as tooth extractions are needed as soon as possible.
Antibiotics are safe during pregnancy but there is conflicting advice about medications during dental work.
Research suggests that women who receive fillings, undergo tooth extractions or have root canal treatment during the second trimester don’t experience higher rates of problems at birth, according to Mayo Clinic.
There is some evidence that periodontal diseases – including gum disease – are a potential risk factor for preterm birth.
But in 2011, Mrs Hancock went back to the dentist when her filling broke.
She added: ‘Dr Avakian placed an inlay. Then in 2013 it needed to be re-cemented.
‘In hindsight, perhaps the continuous issues with my tooth should have started ringing alarm bells, but it just seemed like it was a bad tooth.’
Then in 2014, Mrs Hancock started suffering from toothache in a different place, so Dr Avakian gave her another filling but she still suffered problems.
She said: ‘In 2015 my tooth that had previously been re-cemented had to be re-cemented again.
‘I also had to have yet another filling and was still suffering from bouts of excruciating toothache.
‘Then, in 2016, the dentist placed another filling and performed more root canal treatment.
‘It felt like my dental problems were never-ending, but I just began to think I had bad teeth.’
In 2017, Mrs Hancock became pregnant but her issues with her teeth began to get worse.
She said: ‘I was still suffering from toothache.
‘This time Dr Avakian said one of my wisdom teeth needed to be extracted.
‘I was pregnant at the time and told him this, but he reassured me my pregnancy wasn’t an issue.
‘So I went back a month later to have the tooth extracted, but the whole experience was horrific.’
In May 2017, Dr Avakian spent an hour pulling and twisting the tooth, during which time Mrs Hancock said she was in agony, but he was unable to extract it.
Mrs Hancock said: ‘He eventually said he couldn’t extract it after all. I couldn’t eat or sleep for days because of the pain. It was a nightmare.’
Mrs Hancock saw a private dentist in June 2017 who removed what was left of her tooth.
She said: ‘Literally 20 minutes after coming home I was bleeding everywhere. I went to the hospital and they gave me a scan which confirmed the baby was dead.
Mrs Hancock claims she was reassured that her pregnancy was not an issue while she received dental work. She said the ordeal has been ‘soul destroying’
‘They estimated that the foetus died at nine weeks which is when I had the first extraction attempt.
‘I’m not sure I would have had the miscarriage if it hadn’t been for the never ending trauma. The whole ordeal was so traumatic on my body.’
Mrs Hancock claims she has since been told that Dr Avakian should not have attempted to extract the tooth while she was pregnant.
She said: ‘The whole ordeal was soul destroying.
‘To think it was all because Dr Avakian wasn’t doing his job properly makes me so angry. I never should have gone through any of this.’
After contacting the Dental Law Partnership, analysis of her dental records revealed Dr Avakian had failed to treat decay on two of her teeth.
They also claims he had also failed to use reasonable skill and care when attempting to extract her tooth.
The fillings the dentist placed and his root canal treatment were also inadequate.
They have now successfully settled with the dentist paying £18,000 in an out of court settlement.
Mrs Hancock now needs extensive corrective treatment.
Heather Owen, of the Dental Law Partnership, said: ‘It was our position that the distress and pain our client experienced would have been avoided if the dentist had provided treatment to the correct standard.’
MailOnline contacted Cecil Street Dental Surgery who declined to comment and would not give contact details for Dr Avakian.
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