A SCOTS dentist who carried out unnecessary fillings, extractions and teeth cleaning on dozens of patients over a 25-year period has been struck off the dental register.

Stuart Craig, who ran his own practice in Auchinleck, East Ayrshire, was found guilty of serious breaches of conduct in relation to 34 patients between 1986 and 2011.

The General Dental Council (GDC) heard how Mr Craig provided fillings for 16 patients without a good clinical case for the procedure, inappropriately provided crowns for five patients, prescribed three-monthly scale and polishes for 19 patients when they were not clinically justified, and failed to provide a good standard of care or treatment for 16 patients.

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Overall, he put his own financial interests first in the case of 30 patients, said the GDC.

In its findings, the GDC committee said it had no option but to remove Mr Craig from the dental register.

The dentist came to the regulator's attention after NHS Scotland's counter-fraud department launched a probe, known as Operation Lewis, into his remuneration claims.

NHS patients who pay for their treatment pay 80% of the treatment costs, up to a maximum of £384. The excess cost is then picked up by the NHS and reimbursed to the dental practice.

The committee noted that issues had been raised with Mr Craig twice before, in 1990 and again in 2007, about the way he was running his practice and his remuneration claims to the health service for treatments carried out on NHS patients, but the pattern continued.

Another factor underpinning the GDC committee's findings was serious shortcomings uncovered in the radiographic evidence of 34 patients, whose records were selected at random.

The GDC said Mr Craig's conduct amounted to "serious breaches that were extensive, wide ranging and which persisted over a prolonged period of time" and his registration was immediately suspended following the determination on Thursday. Unless he exercises his right of appeal, his name will be erased from the register on December 27. Mr Craig could not be reached for comment.