'I was in tears': Dentist can keep working despite failing 13 patients
- Credit: Google Maps/Simply Smile Ltd
Gareth Hope isn’t a man who cries easily.
But the 6ft 2in bricklayer from Long Stratton could not hold back the tears when his dentist messed up root canal surgery.
“I had gone in for a pain in my back tooth,” the 39-year old said. “The dentist did a root canal but had to try four times to get it. Eventually she did but within a week it had become infected.
“I was in tears. The pain just got worse and worse and my jaw was bruised.”
His dentist at Manor House Dental in Long Stratton, Ana-Maria Teodorescu, has now had a series of complaints against her upheld by regulator the General Dentistry Council (GDC).
She left Manor House last year, but despite making a finding of misconduct against her, the GDC said she can still work as long as she is supervised for the next 18 months.
Mr Hope was one of 13 patients who complained about Ms Teodorescu’s treatment of them between 2016 and 2018 and had their allegations proven by the GDC committee last week. But that gives him little comfort.
“I've had to have three teeth removed since then (2018) and had multiple surgeries,” he said.
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The father-of-two also has to chop up his steak into small pieces and avoids chewy sweets.
The GDC hearing, which concluded on Friday, was told by an expert witness that Ms Teodorescu's work on Mr Hope was a “very poor standard" of treatment.
The GDC committee said: “Ms Teodorescu made numerous clinical failings, which spanned a considerable period of time, involved multiple patients and related to basic fundamental areas of dental practice.”
They ruled there was misconduct but said her failings were “remediable”, adding it “noted the considerable efforts made by Ms Teodorescu to address her failings”.
They also said she had admitted some of the failings.
Ms Teodorescu first appeared before the GDC in 2018 after a fellow dentist and 30 patients raised concerns. The GDC placed restrictions on her but have only now held the full hearing. It said scheduling challenges can lead to delays in holding hearings.
Meanwhile, the dentist who initially raised the concerns about Ms Teodorescu back in 2017, Mark Ter-Berg, has left the practice.
Mark Ter-Berg took the owner of Manor House, a company called Simply Smile Manor House Ltd, to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal and is now working in Bungay. But his case was dismissed by a judge last year who ruled he was self-employed and therefore could not proceed with a claim.
A spokesman for the company said: "Mr Ter Berg was provided with notice to leave having sold the practice to Simply Smile, he was only ever contracted as a self employed dentist as part of the transition from him being the owner to ourselves.”
They added: "Any allegations in respect of the management of the practice were dismissed by the GDC."
Mr Ter-Berg said: “I’m glad that Dr Teodorescu is getting the help and support she needs to make her a safe practitioner but what makes me angry is the system has taken a very long time to get to the point where it could start to protect patients.”
He first raised concerns with NHS England in September 2017.
However, it wasn’t until June 2018 that restrictions were placed on Ms Teodorescu. In the meantime, she carried out poor treatment on several more patients, including Mr Hope.
NHS England said it investigated any areas of concern.
A spokesman said: "We are focused on patient safety and, as a precautionary measure, in November 2018 all patients who were treated by the dentist between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018 and who had not already seen an alternative dentist were invited to attend a routine dental check-up."