A 21-year-old graduate has been awarded £10,000 compensation for a series of dental blunders that left her with a double tooth like a SHARK.
Lauren Field has finally had the problem corrected but now faces the prospect of wearing braces and retainers for the rest of her life.
Her teeth troubles started when she was 10 and she noticed a strange lump on her upper left gum, underneath her last remaining baby tooth.
Her mum took her to the family dentist, Dr Ashwin Bechar from Stantonbury Health Centre.
“We expected him to pull the baby tooth out, but he insisted it would fall out naturally on its own,” said Lauren, who lives in Bletchley.
But four years later the milk tooth still remained, and her adult tooth began to protrude out of her gum directly above it - causing her significant pain.
Lauren and her mum returned several times to Dr Bechar asking to see an orthodontist. but he failed to make the referral.
“My adult tooth began to grow horizontally, which cut against my lip making it bleed. It caused awful ulcers,” said Lauren.
“When I closed my mouth you could see a lump on the side of my face - I felt really embarrassed as kids at school would point it out. My confidence suffered.”
Lauren’s mum, after pleading in vain with Dr Belcher, sought second opinions from three different dentists. Finally, when Lauren was 18 and at uni, she was referred to an orthodontist. But, because of her age, she had to pay.
The corrective procedure was long, painful and costly, said the Dental Law Partnership, which helped Lauren obtain an out of court settlement from Dr Bechar.
Laurensaid: “It’s so frustrating because, had Dr Bechar taken the right action immediately, it would have saved me so much time and suffering. Instead I am having to go through this traumatic experience as an adult. I am having to wear braces to job interviews, which makes me feel so self-conscious because I think they’re not going to take me seriously.”
She added: “Dr Bechar was our family dentist, he seemed like he was doing his best for us and we trusted him but he let us down.”
Heather Owen, associate solicitor at the Dental Law Partnership, said: “The way our client has suffered was completely unnecessary. Dr Bechar should have realised it was not normal or healthy for Miss Field’s deciduous canine tooth to persist like it did – blocking the eruption of the adult tooth - and he should have extracted it to encourage the permanent tooth to erupt. If the procedure of extracting the baby tooth had been undertaken to fix the problem at an early stage, Miss Field would have avoided orthodontic treatment and pain and distress. Consequently, Miss Field required orthodontic treatment and was left with a visible baby tooth until the age of 19.”
For details of the Dental Law Partnership visit http://www.dentallaw.co.uk