A hospital worker who lost a tooth after undergoing botched cosmetic dentistry has been awarded £7,000 compensation.
Julia Dowler, 42, paid £10,000 to a Harley Street dentist, who had treated Royalty, soap stars and other rich and famous, in the hope of achieving the ‘perfect smile.’
She opted for veneers – thin layers of composite (a type of plastic) or porcelain, custom-made and bonded to the surface of one or more teeth to disguise discolouration or improve shape.
Although she was initially happy with the results, within six months of the treatment problems began to occur.
‘I noticed brown spots on my front teeth – like tiny flecks of ink,’ she said.
‘I tried brushing but it did not make any difference. And my gums started to bleed. I went back to the dentist and he filed my teeth with a special drill, which got rid of the marks.’
But then, six months later, a friend noticed the back of Julia’s teeth seemed black.
‘It showed when I laughed,’ she said. ‘I was mortified. Over the next few weeks it got worse. A few weeks later one of the front veneers dropped out while I was eating. I was left with half a tooth and looked like a witch.’
Julia, of Sidcup, Kent, decided to see another dentist who, after reattaching the tooth, advised her to take legal action.
In July 2006, Julia was awarded £7,000 in an out-of-court settlement, from which she had to pay around £2,000 in legal fees.
The mother-of-one added: ‘I was fixated on having a perfect smile. In hindsight, I think my teeth were probably perfect the way they were.’
Tanveer Jaleel, founder and partner of TJL Solicitors, said researching dentists for cosmetic treatment was just as important as finding the right surgeon for plastic surgery.
”It is very important that people do their homework and find a reputable dentist or surgeon when undergoing any cosmetic procedure to avoid disappointment.
‘However, if a patient thinks they have been misled or injured because of botched treatment there is usually a chance they can be compensated through the courts.’