A Shefford pensioner has been awarded £8,500 after having dodgy dental surgery which left him in pain for three years.
Philip Long, 65, had his two front teeth replaced with implants, only to need one of them surgically removing again and requiring a bone graft and crowns.
Mr Long was forced to turn to specialist dental negligence solicitors, after two failed dental implants fitted by dentist Dr Spyridon Galatas at The Luton Dental Centre.
During a routine check-up at Shefford Health Centre in 2010, it was noticed that the pin that secured the crowns on his two front teeth had worked itself too close to the side of the tooth and had infected the gum, meaning the teeth would have to be removed.
Mr Long explained: “Unfortunately my regular dentist did not offer implants and I didn’t want dentures, so I made a few calls to neighbouring practices to get some more details and prices.
“The only practice that followed-up on my call was Luton Dental Centre who invited me to an open session one afternoon in October for people considering dental implants.
“I saw Dr Spyridon Galatas who confirmed my previous dentist’s diagnosis but never offered me an alternative other than implants, nor did he explain the risks associated with implant treatment.
“Everything seemed fine, so I decided to go ahead with the treatment.
“I paid a deposit and the treatment was scheduled to take place in early November 2010 at a cost of £4,500.”
On the day of the appointment, Mr Long travelled with his wife to see Dr Galatas who, 10 minutes before his treatment was due, gave him paperwork to sign which stated that the success of the treatment was not guaranteed.
Mr Long commented: “I was shocked, this was the first time that anyone had told me this! I was worried but I felt obliged to undergo the treatment as everything had been prepared and I had already paid a deposit. Had I known that there could be complications, I would have seriously reconsidered the treatment.”
The procedure was carried out and Mr Long’s two front teeth were removed and implants fitted. However, during the operation there was another lady present who looked concerned.
Mr Long explained: “Throughout the treatment, her face said it all, she was obviously concerned with Dr Galatas’ technique. Following the procedure, she told me that this was a new type of implant and this was the first time it had been fitted in the UK.
“I was horrified, I thought he’d done hundreds of procedures like this, I certainly didn’t think I was the first.”
Mr Long’s troubles were far from over though as he suffered a number of complications over recent years.
He added: “In August 2012, I was at a social function having dinner and one of my crowns came out as I was eating – it was so embarrassing.
“I went to see Dr Galatas the very next day but was told he had since left the practice. I saw another dentist at the same practice who said that I had ‘big problems’ as my gums were infected and my crowns didn’t fit.
“I was told that the practice had had lots of issues with Dr Galatas’ work and that I should make a claim against him.”
After a long battle in February this year Mr Long was awarded £8,500 in an out-of-court settlement. Dr Galatas did not admit liability for his actions.