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State drills dentist for allegedly poor procedures, overbilling

Jen French
April 19, 2017 07:38 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — An Albuquerque dentist must face the Board of Dental Health Care and the Dental Hygienist Committee again to answer to allegations of performing procedures that have caused patients pain.

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The root canal seemed routine, but five years later Kip Myers is still feeling it.

"I suspect you're standing there not aware of any of your teeth right now. I'm standing here aware of one of mine," he said.

State investigators believe Dr. William Gardner altered the dental X-rays of Myers and at least 20 other patients.

"The pictures obviously look different,” Myers said.

Delta Dental dropped Gardner as a provider in 2014 believing he may be the one altering these patient records in order to line his pockets. Recently, Gardner had to face the State Dental Board over a patient allegation that he gave her three crowns instead of veneers.

Gardner claimed there were no allegations of patient pain despite the State Dental Board’s file on him.

One complainant disclosed she “missed excessive work due to the shots, drilling and other painful dental work on almost a bi-weekly basis between December 2010 and July 2011.”

Gardner did comment on Delta Dental dropping him from their network.

"The dental board and Delta Dental are in cahoots," he said. "There's a conflict of interest."

The New Mexico Dental Board dished out some financial pain to Gardner during a hearing on March 31 and issued him a $10,000 fine — $5,000 for the patient allegation and $5,000 to cover legal fees.

Gardner is still practicing. Despite numerous complaints dating back to 2006, his dental license has never been suspended or revoked.  4 Investigates asked the New Mexico Dental Board to comment on their decision to issue a civil penalty to Dr. Gardner and not a license suspension or revocation.

The New Mexico Dental Board sent 4 Investigates the following statement:

"The board has other action pending against Dr. Gardner … so at this time, the Board cannot speak on any action or allegations against Dr. Gardner."

4 Investigates discovered that since 2007, the New Mexico Dental Board disciplined 63 dentists. That’s approximately nine dentists a year.  Out of the dentists who actually lose their license in the same time frame, that number has twiddled down to 10.

ADVICE BEFORE YOU OPEN YOUR MOUTH AND YOUR WALLET?

  • A dentist's license—and the scope of his or her practice—should be on display in the office.
  • Your dentist is required to release your records and is allowed to charge a nominal fee for the paperwork whether or not you paid your dental bill.
  • Dentists must also tell you what they're treating you for, approximately how much it will cost, and if there are any alternative treatments.

Credits

Jen French

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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