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Investigation focuses on Arizona Board of Dental Examiners

Members of the Arizona Board of Dental Examiners were duly impressed — and likely aghast — after seeing pictures presented by a woman during a public-comment period.

Those images showed dental implants that were so woefully placed into her mouth that her jaw had been penetrated and drilled through. The board took disciplinary action against the dentist.

The problem: The woman had filed a written complaint with the board many months prior to the public hearing. Following the submission of her complaint, she had no subsequent contact with the board, although that entity did communicate closely with the dentist.

In fact, the board had completed its unilateral investigation by the time the woman rose to speak (with her comments being limited to three minutes). A media investigatory story chronicling her frightful story noted that it “was prepared to approve a non-disciplinary action” against the dentist.

Her sad tale of medical negligence and personal injury summarily halted the direction in which the board was reportedly headed.

Although that changed result was obviously salutary, the story has raised concerns about the board, which, again, consults with dentists following a complaint while opting never to communicate further with complainants following their reports of medical malpractice.

The board does not seem particularly enamored of responding to a public inquiry regarding its practices and policies, either. Its executive director declined a media interview request regarding the board’s altered decision at the last moment following the above-noted woman’s public plea and pictorial evidence of egregiously shoddy care. Board members also declined to comment.

Even though the board revised the outcome in the above case, the disciplinary action reportedly omits any mention of the excessively drilled implants, which comprised the central subject matter of the woman’s complaint and subsequent lawsuit.

That omission leaves her with one strongly viewed conclusion, namely, that “the Arizona dental board is basically out to protect the dentists.”

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