Woman awarded €77,750 after braces to straighten her teeth went wrong

Sarah O’Gorman, who has since had specialist treatment, now has ‘lovely smile’ – judge

Sarah O’Gorman, of Captain’s Road, Crumlin, Dublin. Photograph: Collins Courts

Sarah O’Gorman, of Captain’s Road, Crumlin, Dublin. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

A woman who sued a dentist when braces fitted to straighten her teeth went wrong has been awarded €77,750 damages by the High Court.

Sarah O’Gorman (23), a clerical officer, told the court that, after opting for a €2,300 deal on braces, she thought that, at one stage, her teeth would fall out and she felt her teeth crack when touched.

Making the award, Mr Justice Michael Hanna said Ms O’Gorman had been put through three years of pain and discomfort that was unnecessary.

“What she suffered was over and above what she ought to have experienced,” he said. The court had to mark her “considerable trauma”.

He also described Ms O’Gorman, who has since undergone specialist treatment, as very pleasant and with a “lovely smile”.

Ms O’Gorman, Captain’s Road, Crumlin, Dublin, had sued a dentist, Riyadh Emara, of Canal View Dental Surgery, Grove Road, Rathmines, arising from orthodontic treatment carried out between October 2013 and September 2016.

She claimed the orthodontic treatment was performed in a manner which was unsatisfactory in every respect. She also alleged failure to inform her of the risk her front teeth could become mobile as a result of the treatment. Further claims included that the treatment was carried out in an incorrect manner.

Judgment was granted last month against the defendant dentist in default of appearance and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

Awarding a total €77,750, Mr Justice Hanna said the treatment was “entirely inappropriate”.

He said Ms O’Gorman underwent pain and discomfort and also had a “harrowing” experience as the dentist also tried to deal with a problematic wisdom tooth. It was a complex case and, even when Ms O’Gorman later sought help from a specialist orthodontist, he had sought a second opinion before the appliance was removed.

Ms O’Gorman’s case was a difficult one which should have been referred to a specialist orthodontist, the judge said. He said the brace was removed in 2016 and was caught in time and he now hoped Ms O’Gorman can look forward from the traumatic period in her life.

In evidence, Ms O’Gorman had told her counsel David McGrath SC she went to the defendant dentist when school friends told her of a €2,300 braces deal. She said she wore the metal braces for two years but, half way through, the dentist took off the bottom brace. She noticed her front teeth felt mobile and later sought the advice of a specialist and the top brace was taken off. “The concern was my teeth would fall out. I was waking up in the middle of the night, the roots of my teeth were so sore.”

She added: “I thought my teeth were going to fall out if I bit in to something hard.” She broke down when telling the judge that with her specialist treatment, she is now starting to smile again. “I didn’t smile before,” she said.