Woman was afraid to smile after dental work, court hears

A Co Dublin woman who was “afraid to smile” following a treatment on one of her teeth has settled a €60,000 negligence claim against her former dentist over the incident for an undisclosed sum.

The woman, Roisin Mimnagh (50), of Marina Village, Malahide, claimed in her Circuit Civil Court action that she had been horrified to find an incisor had been filed away without her consent and replaced with an amalgam or composite in the incident.

David McParland, counsel for Ms Mimnagh, told Judge Jacqueline Linnane that his client was someone who took pride in her appearance and had gone to Dr Anna O’Donovan, of Griffith Avenue, Dublin, to have an incisor realigned.

“To her horror, she afterwards found that her tooth had been filed away and replaced with an amalgam or composite that was smaller and shorter and different from her original tooth,” Mr McParland said.

Barrister Sarah Corcoran, for Dr O’Donovan, said her client had entered a full defense to Ms Mimnagh’s claim but had conceded that written consent to the specific remedy for Ms Mimnagh’s tooth had not been obtained prior to the treatment.

Ms Corcoran told the judge that the case before the court was not one of deciding liability but a matter of assessing damages.

The judge said she had read the pleadings and had found that the latest expert report on the case was more than three-years-old.

Remedial work

Some remedial dental work had been carried out in 2013 shortly after the initial treatment. However, Mr McParland said that Ms Mimnagh was still wearing an appliance on her tooth and one of the experts who had examined her had reported she would need further realignment work.

He said she had initially believed she was going to have some white filling applied to her tooth to make it look straighter. She felt bitter and shocked when she later discovered it had been filed away and replaced with an amalgam or composite. He said she was afraid to smile as a result of the incident.

When the judge said she would be unable to assess damages on the basis of outdated expert reports, Ms Corcoran said Dr O’Donovan had found the ongoing proceedings gravely distressing and had expected the matter to be disposed of without further delay.

When talks about possibly settling the case were suggested by the judge, the court was told by Ms Corcoran that Dr O’Donovan had always had “a significant willingness” to deal with the case.

A short time later Mr McParland said the case had been settled and could be struck out with an order for Ms Mimnagh’s legal costs to be taxed in default of agreement. The amount of the settlement was not disclosed in court.

© The Independent

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