MYSTERY surrounds the closure of a popular dental surgery.

Magicsmiles Dental Studios in Cherry Tree, Blackburn, announced it had closed on its website and that it would be ‘contacting patients in due course.’

But dental patients said the decision to shut the private clinic, which was set up by Shabirakhter Patel, has left them in the dark.

One patient said: “He (Mr Patel) has closed his surgery leaving his patients high and dry, effectively abandoned without any ongoing arrangements.”

The dental surgery apologised to patients following the closure.

They said in a statement on their website: “All patients will be contacted in due course.

“If you require dental services, please arrange this with an alternative provider.

“We can only offer our heartfelt apology for the loss of the dental service to our local community.

“Thank you for your confidence and for sharing our care for dentistry.”

Cllr Derek Hardman, who represents the Livesey with Pleasington ward on Blackburn with Darwen Council, said it was always ‘a shame’ to lose a dental surgery in any community.

He said: “It is a shame as there’s a shortage of dentists in the area.

“Hopefully the patients affected by will be able to find an alternative dental surgery, which isn’t always easy, especially for elderly people.”

The decision to close the surgery comes after award-winning dentist Mr Patel was suspended from practicing last year for a year over the way he handled a complaint from a patient about their treatment.

Mr Patel was found at a public hearing to have sent letters which were ‘aggressive’ in tone in response to a patient’s concerns about her treatment.

He also sent invoices which included charges for the ‘processing of information’ and ‘professional correspondence’ in relation to the concerns raised.

Documents released by the General Dental Council (GDC) said the the letters included ‘wholly inappropriate comments and charges for very significant amounts of money, that were clearly threatening and inappropriate’.

The sanction comes after Magicsmiles became the town’s first award-winning surgery, clinching the Best Practice in the North West title at the 2011 Dentistry Awards, after two top-10 finishes in the Private Dentistry Awards.

Patel, a dentist of over two decades experience, set up private clinic Magicsmiles in 2008 to treat people aged 18 and above after becoming frustrated with NHS services.

Mr Patel was unavailable for comment when approached by the Lancashire Telegraph.