A 24-YEAR-OLD office worker from Chippenham has won £45,000 compensation after her dentist failed to recognise that her adult teeth had not come through as they should.

Rhiannon Cooper saw Dr Richard Fox at the Fox Dental Practice in High Street, Corsham, between June 2000-November 2012 and began legal action against Dr Fox in 2016 through The Dental Law Partnership, after being told she would have to pay £10,000 for private treatment to correct her teeth and give her back her smile.

In a recent out-of-court settlement, Dr Fox has paid £45,000 in compensation. He did not admit liability.

Dr Fox sold his practice in 2014 and is understood to have retired. The Gazette has not been able to contact him.

Miss Cooper said: “Dr Fox was my childhood dentist so I trusted him.

“My baby teeth were a bit wonky but I thought that would correct itself over time. Other than that, I never had any major issues with my teeth.

“By the time I was 17 I still had several baby teeth, which did seem very odd. But Dr Fox never indicated that there was a problem, or that anything else needed to be done.”

It wasn’t until November 2012 that Dr Fox referred Miss Cooper to orthodontic specialists at the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

Miss Cooper said: “When I went to hospital, they were shocked at the state of my teeth and couldn’t believe I hadn’t been referred earlier.

“I was told that two of my upper front teeth would need to be extracted because they had lost their roots and that I’d need braces to straighten out the rest of them. I couldn’t believe it.”

After the operation, she started orthodontic treatment to move her adult teeth into the gaps where her milk teeth had been.

Miss Cooper then had a prosthetic tooth and retainer fitted in 2014. She was told she needed to pay privately for the complex restorative dentistry, and has since been told by a dental expert that for best results, she should now have her remaining upper front teeth extracted and replaced with implanted false teeth.

She said: “As an 18-year-old, I wasn’t in a position to pay for private treatment that I was told would cost over £10,000.”

A statement from her lawyers claimed an analysis of her dental records revealed Dr Fox had failed to use reasonable skill and care in the management of her teeth during childhood, and had failed to investigate the absence of the adult canine teeth at the correct age, or refer Miss Cooper to an orthodontist in a timely manner.

Miss Cooper added: “The whole ordeal made me very self-conscious. I didn’t want to speak in front of people for fear of embarrassment.It was a nightmare.”

Miranda Bailey, of The Dental Law Partnership, said: “The distress and pain our client has experienced was completely unnecessary.

“If the dentist had carried out treatment in the first place, all her problems could have been avoided.”