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Celebrity dentist suspended for fraud and endangering patients

Sherri Worth, the dentist whose celebrity status came into being along with the television series "The Swan," now has her license suspended pending the outcome of the California Dental Board's (CDB) disciplinary action against her.

The CDB has called her an immediate danger to patients and legal documents filed by the board accuse Worth of multiple acts of negligence and incompetence, along with fraud. Her fraudulent actions include billing patients for laser surgery they never received, falsifying dental records and even resorting to Photoshopping digital x-rays to cover up some botched crowns.

In addition, the board accuses her of misdiagnosing problems with healthy teeth and performing expensive and wholly unnecessary restorative work.

The CDB started investigating her in 2015 after a malpractice insurer reported her for $641,542 in damages done to one patient—but the damage the doctor did to her own credibility was probably just as bad.

During the investigation into the patient's claim, there were allegations that the dental chart was falsified. A documents expert was hired to examine the dental records to determine the age of the ink and the doctor testified that somehow she had managed to spill a Diet Coke on the records, covering every page in question.

The arbitrator in charge of the case wrote that the dentist's "contrived explanation defies believability."

In several cases, patients paid thousands of dollars for dental work that they didn't need, leaving them with damaged or destroyed teeth.

Other patients have since stepped forward with similar horror stories. One patient paid almost $40,000 for months of treatments that other dentists have found were unnecessary and is suffering ongoing pain. It will cost her at least $30,000 more to repair the damage. Another patient was given crowns on molars that were free of any defects—until the dentist destroyed them in the process of "fixing" them.

One of the injured patients said that he felt that Worth traded on her celebrity status to convince the uninformed to accept her diagnoses and treatment, assuming that someone who is so well-known must be competent.

If you've suffered from a dental provider's negligent care, contact a medical malpractice attorney for advice.

Source: Orange County Register, "Newport Beach celebrity dentist's license suspended for fraud, negligence," Courtney Perkes, Feb. 08, 2017

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