John Hooper was born in 1916. He attended Ardingly College and went on to qualify in dentistry at the Royal Dental Hospital. After graduation he joined the orthodontic department until the outbreak of the Second World War when he signed up to join the Red Cross. He was captured in Belgium during the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940 and spent five years as a prisoner of war. Much of his time as a prisoner was spent at Stalag Luft 3 where he continued to practice dentistry. Hooper returned to the UK in May 1945.
In 1950 John Hooper joined the Royal Victoria Hospital, Bournemouth. In 1951 he was appointed as the first NHS Dental Consultant in Orthodontics to the Wessex Regional Health Board, the result of local general practitioners petitioning the Ministry of Health for the appointment of a local consultant. This appointment helped determine the method for the delivery of orthodontic services within the NHS. With the increased demand for orthodontic treatment after the introduction of the NHS, it became clear that general dental practitioners would have to be involved in orthodontic provision. Hooper provided them with training, diagnosis and treatment planning, and continued support. This model was implemented throughout Britain. Hooper was an advisor to the Dental Estimates Board, which regulated the provision of orthodontic treatment.
John Hooper was President of the BSSO (1967) and was a founding member of the Consultant Orthodontists Group, holding the post of President (1970).