Root Canal Dentist Uses Paper Clips in Surgery

Root canals with paper clipsA Massachusetts dentist accused of using paper clips in root canal procedures has been indicted on 13 charges.

The dentist pinched pennies by using pieces of paper clips instead of stainless steel posts – though that didn’t stop him from billing Medicaid for the more expensive materials he didn’t bother to use.

The charges against him include assault and battery, larceny, submitting false Medicaid claims (using other doctors’ provider numbers), and illegally prescribing drugs (Hydrocodone, Combunox and Percocet).

Between 2003 and 2005, he is estimated to have submitted at least $130,000 in fraudulent Medicaid bills. But it’s his use of office supplies in root canal therapy that’s garnered the most attention. (This root canal treatment is definitely not endodontist-approved!) In fact, some of his root canal patients still have paper clips in their mouths.

Read more about how NOT to cure root canal pain: Charge: Paper clips used in root canals

Dentist Referrals: Dental Implants, Cosmetic Dentistry & Braces

Dentist Referrals: Dental Implants, Cosmetic Dentistry & BracesDentists tend to restore dental implants but refer out dental implant surgery, this survey found.

The average dentist often refers out braces, sedation dentistry, and root canals, while keeping cosmetic dentistry, and denture patients.

Related Story: Dentists: What procedures do you refer out?

When it comes to pediatric dentistry and gum disease, dentists refer some patients out and treat others in house.

Related Story: How Dentists Refer Wisdom Teeth Cases to Oral Surgeons

Overall, the average dentist refers out less than 20% of patients.

Related Story: Root Canal Referrals: Dentists vs. Endodontists

Here are some dentist comments on referring patients:

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Dental Care: Dentist Uses Paper Clips for Root Canals

Dental Care: Dentist Uses Paper Clips for Root CanalsPaper clips for dental patient root canals and Hydrocone for the dental staff — does this sound like a normal dental practice to you?

It doesn’t to Maryland Superior Court Judge Richard Moses, who is scheduled to sentence former dentist Michael Clair on one count of tampering with evidence, one count of witness intimidation, two counts of assault and battery, three counts of illegally prescribing controlled substances, three counts of larceny, and five counts of Medicaid fraud.

Sounds like the legal system is having a good time working Dr. Clair over. But was it deserved . . . absolutely!

Dr. Michael Clair fraudulently billed Medicaid for $130,000 between August 2003 and June 2005. At that time he was licensed to practice dentistry, but had been prohibited from doing work on Medicaid patients. Investigators allege Clair performed the work and then had other dentists in the practice submit bills to Medicaid.

The investigation also charged that Clair twice used paper clips rather than the more expensive stainless steel posts to strengthen teeth given a root canal. Investigators also charged Clair with prescribing Hydrocodone, Combunox and Percocet to staff members, who in turn gave some of the medicine back to him.

Clair has admitted guilty to all the charges.

Read more: Fall River dentist who used paper clips pleads guilty before trial

Dental Survey: Dentists Are Split On Doing Root Canals

EndodonticsIn this dental survey, The Wealthy Dentist asked dentists how often they referred out root canal cases, and how they felt about doing root canal therapy (RCT) work.

Half of the dentists surveyed refer out from 50% to 100% of root canal cases.

Most of the dentists in this group also said they don’t like doing root canals (Ugh!).

“Of all the procedures I perform, RCT is the most tedious and unpredictable. My failure rate with this procedure is now zero since referring them to the specialists. My patients are happier, my staff are happier and I now focus on procedures that I am comfortable with,” said a Nevada dentist.

Do your refer out root canal work?

For other dentists who refer the work out, it’s a matter of having enough training.

“I need to take more courses to become more proficient then maybe I would enjoy them more. I do only the very easy ones now. I used to do most until it was discovered that most upper first molars have 4 canals and I had only ever found 3,” said a general dentist.

“Overtly unusual anatomy goes to the endodontist along with calcified canals,” said a Pennsylvania dentist.

For some, it’s a matter of economics, and the return on time spent doing them:

“I find them very stressful but challenging. They are not a real money maker for me,” said a Washingon dentist.

The other half of the dentists who responded to our survey do all RCT work in-house (26.5%) , or refer out only about a quarter or less (23.5%).

Overall, 44% of dentists said they enjoy performing root canal therapy.

“With modern rotary instrumentation techniques they are simple to perform,” said a North Dakota dentist.

Do you like doing root canals?

Only 9% of our dentists said they enjoy the money earned by doing root canals more than the work itself.

The rest either don’t like doing root canals at all (29%) or had mixed responses (18%).

“Those who do them well should do them all!” said a Texas dentist.

“Endodontists statitically get better outcomes than GPs,” said an Arizona prosthodontist.

Do you perform root canal therapy in-house or refer it out? What’s the reason for your decision?

Safety at the Dental Office Just Got a Lot More Complicated

Mad Cow Concerns over Root Canal Tools

Dentists in the UK and across the globe were shaken recently when Britain’s Minister of Health announced its official recommendation that root canal tools not be reused. The concern is vCJD – also known as “mad cow disease” – which is transmitted via prions in the brain. Though a case has never been documented, endodontic work could leave patients vulnerable to infection with the deadly disease. Contaminated tools can never be cleaned, as prions are resistant to heat and disinfectants. In response to the new recommendations, at least one dental supplier has significantly lowered the prices of its single-use endodontic tools.

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