Early on Monday morning I had an appointment with my dentist. He’s a nice enough guy with a great staff that specializes in “sedation dentistry”. For many years, I've been visiting every four months for a check-up and a cleaning. His office has grown over the years to include at least two other dentists and a flock of masked hygienists. I always joke with them because I never recognize them when I’m out and about since I’ve only seen them with their masks on. I’ve heard many dentist-related horror stories so I’m glad that I like mine.
While sitting in the chair breathing nitrous oxide (the best), it occurred to me that I really don’t know who these people are. They know everything about me … including my contact information and that of my entire family. They know what medicine I take, where I work and who collects my insurance premiums. They’ve had their hands in my mouth and looked up my nose but I don’t know them at all. A more paranoid person might worry that these people could “do something” and not be held accountable.
Apparently, it’s possible. Michael Clair, a former dentist, will be sentenced next week after pleading guilty in a Massachusetts court to a variety of charges including defrauding a government health program of $130,000, assault and battery, illegally prescribing prescription drugs and witness intimidation. Clair was suspended by Medicaid in 2002 but continued to file using the names of other dentists in his practice until finally, in 2006, his license to practice dentistry was suspended nationwide.
During the process it was discovered that, in an effort to save money, Clair used sections of paper clips – which can cause severe pain and infection – instead of stainless steel posts when performing root canals. Although it’s not uncommon for dentists to use paper clips as a temporary fix (who knew), Clair used them as permanent dental implants. Paper clips are insufficient for long-term use not only because they aren’t made of stainless steel but also because their shape and consistency does not allow them to be functionally acceptable.
I’m glad I trust my dentist and his staff … even if I don’t recognize them when they’re upside down or without their masks.
Copyright © 2012 DiatribesAndOvations.com