i have seen a repair like you describe in customers machines in the past and pointed it out as a inproper repair, and been told by the customer it was done 5 years in the past
BUT.... if that heater lets go and sparks a year down the road there might be enough lint in the dryer to start a fire
so..... element might be 50 dollars, whats the insurance deductable on your home if the dryer catches fire?
never cheap out on repairs like this, its not worth the risk
do it right the first time, some mistakes are not work the learning expierience