Staff at the clinic in North Street were shocked to learn she had travelled alone to her appointment and was returning to her Golders Green apartment in London the same day.
“Nothing was going to stop me,” she added. “The teeth I’d been made ten years before in Budapest were useless and they hurt like hell. My new ones don’t hurt at all and for the very first time my top teeth can come over my bottom teeth.”
On the day her new prescription was fitted she decided to celebrate with a meal out at the Miller & Carter steakhouse in Penn.
“I was advised to take it gently, but my teeth felt so good I thought I’ll have a steak,” she says.
It was the first time Theresa could tackle such a “difficult meal”. With schoolgirl laughter, she adds: “I loved it. It was worth waiting for.”
Admitting to a regular tipple of red wine (Shiraz and Merlot are her favourites) she’s determined to carry on celebrating her new teeth and making the best of her restored confidence.
“I may even manage the odd glass of sherry,” she jokes. “It’s been a long time coming and I’m so grateful that I don’t have to put my hand over my mouth any more. I was always afraid to smile, but now . . . look at me, all thanks to Steven.”
Theresa’s problems began when at 18 she took a job as a doctor’s receptionist in Cork. She was advised to have a full clearance after gum disease was diagnosed.
“The bite on every set of teeth I had was never right until now,” she says.
Theresa left Cork with two other girls to stay with an order of nuns in Harrow.
“I was helping at a nursing home. The Reverend Mother sent my two friends back home but encouraged me to apply for a job with the Queen’s Household and I worked as a deputy catering supervisor at Buckingham Palace.”
Reflecting on her colourful life, she adds in a beautifully musical Cork accent: “Every year I get a Christmas card from the Queen.”