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Wednesday, 17 January, 2001, 00:27 GMT
'My dental agony'
A dental procedure brought months of pain to one patient
A dental procedure brought months of pain to one patient
The Consumers' Association is calling for action to regulate private dentists.

Private dental patient Audrey Read tells BBC News Online of the "horrendous" experience she went through when her treatment went wrong.

Mrs Read from Chester-le-Street, County Durham first started having problems with her teeth last May.

She had broken a tooth, and felt she could not rely on her NHS dentist to give her the treatment she needed.

She went to see a private dentist where she was told she would need a bridge across two teeth - and it was here her troubles began.

"I asked how much it was going to cost, and he said 'Time is money Mrs Read, if you're not going to have the treatment, it's a waste of time talking to you'."

She says the problem tooth was very obvious when she opened her mouth, so she decided to go ahead with the procedure, which cost 424.

A preliminary mould was made, but Mrs Read says: "When he actually put the bridge in, I couldn't shut my mouth - and I heard him saying 'Dear me'."

He then filed down the bridge, but filed it so much that part of the root was exposed.

Painful treatment

"I couldn't bite, I couldn't eat, I couldn't do anything. I went back and told him I was 100% disappointed," she says.

A second bridge was fitted, but that too was faulty.

That had a gap at the side, big enough to fit a polo mint into.

She says: "It was horrendous."

When Mrs Read went to see an NHS dentist, he told her he was "absolutely appalled".

Mrs Read adds: "I wrote to the practice twice to say can I have my money back so I could go and have it repaired properly."

But she had signed a form straight after treatment to say she was happy with the work.

"He invited me in to discuss it, but I didn't want to set foot in there again."

Lack of help

She contacted the British Dental Association, who helped her find a specialist solicitor.

But she says: "There was no help available apart from that.

"There was a lot of phone calls, a lot of argy-bargy."

Mrs Read eventually managed to secure a payment of 6,500 from the dentist concerned, a sum negotiated through solicitors.

She says: "I would definitely be in favour of a new regulatory body.

"There should be someone that can help in situations like this."

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See also:

17 Jan 01 | Health
Private dentists regulation call
19 Sep 00 | Health
100m dentistry plan criticised
01 Aug 00 | Health
Concern over dental controls
18 Dec 00 | Health
How dentists are paid
29 Jun 00 | Health
Dentistry 'being ignored'
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