Woman awarded nearly €100,000 over defective dental work

Woman Awarded Nearly €100,000 Over Defective Dental Work
The judge awarded nearly €100,000 to a woman over defective bridge and implant work. File photo: AFP via Getty
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High Court reporter

A High Court judge has awarded nearly €100,000 to a woman over defective bridge and implant work on her teeth.

Namalie Goonetilleke (60), originally from Sri Lanka and who was employed as a preschool assistant in Galway, sued Eduard Bujevics and Norbert Szente, who operated a dental practice at Woodquay in Ennis, Co Clare.


She claimed she suffered serious physical and psychological pain as a result of dental treatment she received from the defendants in 2013.

A full defence denying liability was delivered initially but when the case was due for hearing the defendants did not appear. Solicitors they had initially engaged withdrew after they were unable to obtain instructions from the defendants.

Mr Justice Micheál O’Higgins awarded her €99,789 after hearing evidence from Ms Goonetilleke and a dental specialist. The judge was also provided with reports from a number of other dental experts.

The judge said Ms Goonetilleke had difficulties with her teeth in her 40s, lost her lower incisor teeth in 2012 and implants were replaced in 2013. There was also a positive history of periodontal disease in her family.


She had her own local dentist in Galway and in 2013 a friend recommended the defendants. In April 2013, she attended the defendants and they gave her an outline of the costs of the dental work they proposed to carry out on her.

The judge said she was not a person of significant means and had to borrow the money for the work from her credit union.

Not standard practice

The defendants put in a bridge and two implants. For reasons that remain unclear, all teeth and implants were linked together in one eight-tooth bridge, the judge said.

He was satisfied from the expert evidence that this is not standard practice. Natural teeth should only be connected to implants and a bridge as a last resort, he said.


The judge accepted Ms Goonetilleke's evidence that as a result of the work she suffered significant pain and discomfort which ultimately led to her teeth becoming seriously infected and causing further pain.

He was satisfied from the evidence that, across a 10-year period, she suffered significant symptoms of pain and distress as a result of the defective work carried out by the defendants.

While he took into account the family history of periodontal disease and also that she had pre-existing difficulties prior to her attendance with the defendants, it was nonetheless clear from the expert evidence that the defective dental treatment and services provided by the defendants was the predominant cause of her ongoing difficulties.

In making the €99,789 award against both defendants, the judge included €10,000 for psychological suffering.

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