A Bromley woman has won £30,000 after her dentist failed to notice disease that led to her losing multiple teeth.
Maxine Petty, 54, had been visiting Paul Travers-Spencer at his Downham Way practice for 36 years and said she had “trusted him completely”.
But after her dentist continually failed to deal with signs of serious bone loss, Ms Petty sought help from the Dental Law Partnership (DLP).
Ms Petty first visited aged 17 in 1976 and three years later x-rays showed early signs of bone loss – but no action was taken and she was unaware of “impending problems”.
In 1994 another x-ray revealed bone loss of 20-40 per cent, and in 1995 similar problems were recorded. Mr Travers-Spencer prescribed only antibiotics, the DLP said.
Ms Petty said: “I remained completely unaware of what was happening.
“I did not realise how serious this was.”
In 2000 Ms Petty’s situation worsened, but again Mr Travers-Spencer did not take the necessary action, according to the DLP.
Two years later Ms Petty was referred to Guys Hospital, but staff advised Mr Travers-Spencer his patient could be dealt with by a dentist.
Over the next 10 years Ms Petty continued to visit her dentist but despite x-rays showing further issues, including infection and decay, only antibiotics were given. In 2008, Ms Petty started losing her teeth.
She said: “At this stage I thought that receding gums and the continual outbreaks of pain and infection was about ageing and normal wear and tear and although I did not want to lose the teeth I just thought that was quite normal.”
Visiting another practice for a second opinion, Ms Petty was “completely horrified” to be told that she had serious gum disease and was going to lose more teeth.
The DLP took up her case and evidence showed the standard of care over many years was “seriously below what was expected”.
The DLP said: “Maxine suffered enormously under his care, losing five teeth and having to endure the pain and discomfort of extensive remedial work to replace teeth and to save others.”
Ms Petty was shocked by three decades of "neglect" and added: “If he had acted on my issues sooner I would not be in this mess.
"The service was abysmal. I am glad the case has been settled and I can try and move on.”
Mr Travers-Spencer did not admit liability.