A woman treated by a dentist who turned out to be a fraud and not even legally registered to practise says she was ‘livid’ when told he’d been arrested by police, having seen him for close to a year.
The woman, who has asked not to be named, had been a long-term patient at the Smiles Hallgate House Dental Practice in Cottingham, and had changed dentists a number of times over the years she was a patient there.
She therefore saw no issue when changing to the care of a new dentist in September 2013, not for a moment considering that he would be a fraud, not be registered by the General Dental Council (GDC), and someone who had previously been prosecuted in Scotland for the same offence.
“I was absolutely livid,” she said.
“I simply cannot understand how on earth he was able to gain employment at the surgery and work there for a year.
“In all areas of employment and work these days you have to carry out detailed background checks on the people you employ to work for you, so for healthcare, when you are treating patients, it is totally inexcusable. They were putting all patients at risk.”
The woman says Ronnie Barogiannis – who practised under the name of another dentist he had previously employed in Scotland by using his documentation – was surprisingly convincing when treating her.
However, the quality of his work came under the microscope some months after his arrest, when a crown fitted on the 50-year-old patient flew out as she sneezed.
I can remember him coming in and out of the surgery looking for things, but you can’t see what he’s doing when you’re laid down with your mouth open, so I didn’t really question him at the time,” said the patient.
When he was arrested we contacted the practice and they agreed to refund the work he had done for me. It was close to £1,000. I was told though, after my dental care had been reviewed, that the work he had done for me had been of a good standard.
Some months later though I sneezed and my tooth shot out. It was then that I went to see another dentist and he told me there were problems relating to the work done.
The woman says her new dentist took x-rays and told her the crown fitted by Barogiannis had been cut too far into her gum and that a crown should have never been put onto the tooth in the first place, as it was not viable.
She was told the crown had not been fitted correctly, and that Barogiannis had cut it too low, causing her gum to creep underneath it.
With Barogiannis in custody and facing court action, the patient was one of many to seek legal support from dental compensation claims specialists Hudgell Solicitors, who are now supporting her and others in further investigating the treatment they received.
I’m glad he has been brought to court and sentenced, but this simply should never have happened, in my mind the surgery didn’t play fair with me when I went back to them. Yes, they refunded the money I had spent on dental treatment from him, but to claim my dental treatment had been a good standard when I am still suffering today with a gap in my teeth has left me very angry.
Ashleigh Dance, a dental claims specialist at Hudgell Solicitors, is advising a large number of patients of the practice with regards to the treatment they received from Barogiannis.
She said: “We are looking at the treatment provided to all patients of this dental practice who saw this man and feel the standard of treatment they received was below the standard expected.
“It is clear that a high number of patients have had trouble with their teeth after being treated by Barogiannis, who should not even have been allowed anywhere near them in the first place.
“All the patients we are speaking to are angry and disappointed, and for many it has made them lose faith in the dental profession, making them less trusting of the dentists they see. That is a very sad outcome.”
Barogiannis admitted using false documentation to gain employment at the Smiles Hallgate House Dental Practice in Cottingham (now run by Oasis Dental Care) between August 2013 and October 2014. He was sentenced to a total of five-and-a-half years in prison when he appeared at Hull Crown Court on Friday, September 16, 2016.
The sale of Smiles Hallgate House Dental Practice to Oasis Dental Care was announced in May 2014.
Barogiannis worked at the practice before the sale and after, before finally being caught.
Patients received a letter from the practice in October 2014, by which time it was under the new ownership of Oasis, informing them their dentist had been unregistered and practicing under a false name.