Dentist offers woman who lost all her teeth £25,000 of free treatment
THE VICTIM of failed dental surgery which left her toothless and without compensation has been given new hope.
Gabriela Andrews said it is a "dream" that a dentist has offered her around £25,000 worth of corrective treatment for free.
As reported by The Herald in May, Gabriela was left with only a few jagged bones for teeth after dental implants went disastrously wrong.
She has fought for justice for almost three years – but has been unable to claim a penny as the dentist who treated her had inadequate insurance, has been struck off and left the country.
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After hearing of the tragic story, Dr Mitesh Badiani, of the Plymouth Dental Centre of Excellence, has offered her free treatment.
Gabriela, aged 48, of Keyham, said she is overwhelmed by the amazing gift.
"I cannot imagine myself with teeth, I don't even know how I will look," she said.
"Dr Badiani called me and said he wanted to show me there were good dentists too.
"When you are as deep as I am in a situation like this, to get that call from a doctor is like a dream.
"I still can't believe there will be a day I will look in the mirror and have teeth. I try not to think about it. I didn't ever expect this."
Dr Badiani is donating treatment while BioHorizons UK is providing the implants.
He said: "My view is that, yes, things go wrong but it's how you correct them.
"In this situation Gabriela has been left in a poor scenario and a difficult financial position.
"We analysed the situation and thought: this is not about the money, it's about making sure someone can benefit from our skills."
He said the treatment should take between six and nine months to complete.
An area manager for a holiday home cleaning company, Gabriela saved for years for the £4,125 she needed for dental implants. She opted for private treatment because she thought it was the cheapest option.
She had previously had her upper teeth removed due to chronic root-canal infections because of an underlying health condition. A denture in her lower jaw was also failing.
The private dentist, Piotr Tadeusz Reichel, who gave her dental implants in Cornwall in January 2010 has since moved to Poland and been struck off.
The work failed – leaving her unable to eat solid food or speak clearly – but lawyers say Gabriela cannot claim compensation through the dentist, the clinic or any other body.
Gabriela is among campaigners calling for immediate change to laws which can leave patients powerless if dentists have no insurance, move abroad or refuse to contact their insurers.
National campaign group Bridge the Gap said they are delighted Gabriela has been given a chance at corrective treatment.
The group is calling for insurers to co-operate with claims to avoid leaving more patients in Gabriela's position.
Campaign head Chris Dean said: "The campaign is all about changing the law so dental patients are better protected.
"Unfortunately Gabriela was a victim of this loophole but it is great to see that by raising awareness of her situation, she is able to get the treatment she needs.
"It is important to realise however that these loopholes still exist and that Gabriela is receiving treatment due to the kindness of individuals, not because the law that allowed this to happen has been changed."