A 24-year-old former dental assistant was sentenced in Salzburg on Thursday to 20 months' conditional imprisonment for practicing dentistry without a license, fraud and commercial assault.
In the period from August to November 2012, the young woman, who never trained as a dentist, treated seven patients with significant dental treatment, including drilling and pulling teeth, installing prostheses and inserting implants.
She carried out the commercial fraud on the premises of her former employer, during hours when he was not in the office. During the summer of 2012, she arbitrarily changed appointments for some patients to times when only she would be present.
When patients asked her about her qualifications, she explained that she had studied dentistry in Munich. In fact, she had only completed an apprenticeship in the dentist's surgery in Salzburg, and was subsequently hired as an assistant.
She gained confidence with the use of a syringe or dental drill, and began to feel that she could do the work by herself. "Suddenly I felt important, and thought I would try it. I've built up a fantasy world", she said.
On an additional charge of theft, the accused was acquitted for lack of evidence.
According to the prosecutor Marcus Neher, the accused targeted elderly patients, as one victim on the witness stand was 93-years-old. She was also accused of using improper hygiene techniques, often treating patients without gloves or an apron.
The defendant accepted payments in cash, with total losses believed to be around €21,000. The additional income was used by the mother of two to lead "a better life."
One patient required 14 separate treatments, without an improvement to her condition. "I had a toothache after each appointment. Once she drilled me so badly, I almost jumped to the ceiling in pain", said one witness.
Additionally, the defendant is accused of borrowing cash from some of her patients, under the pretext of needing the money for her mother's funeral.
Judge Aleksander Vincetic additionally ordered the defendant to pay the victims €16,000 for pain and suffering.