A NORTH-EAST dentist has been struck off the General Dental Council's register following allegations of misconduct dating back almost 20 years.

The regulator's Professional Conduct Committee upheld a string of allegations against Leslie Thomas Cookson relating to his time at Woodham Dental Surgery in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.

Among the “multiple clinical shortcomings” cited at the public hearing were failing to identify tooth decay and failing to examine and record soft tissue in the mouth.

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Mr Cookson, of Richmond, North Yorkshire, was also said to have failed to have taken “bitewing” x-rays and was deemed to have breached his duty to make and keep accurate patient records.

The findings, which concern his treatment of 25 patients between 1995 and 2012, took into account steps he had taken to improve his practice from 2009 onwards.

However, the committee agreed that Mr Cookson, who has since retired, had failed to fully address the shortcomings.

A spokesperson said: “The committee is satisfied that Mr Cookson’s conduct, which was repeated over a sustained period of time in relation to a number of patients, fell far below the standards expected of a reasonable general dental practitioner.

“The committee has concluded that the findings against Mr Cookson amount to misconduct.”

He said Mr Cookson, who did not attend and was not represented at the hearing, had put patients’ safety at risk by not maintaining the professional knowledge and competence required in key areas.

Mr Cookson stopped practising last October and another dentist now runs the surgery.

The committee was told that Mr Cookson had no intention of returning to dentistry.

Unless he appeals the decision, Mr Cookson’s name will be struck off the dental register in 28 days.

Mr Cookson did not respond to requests to comment.