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Celebrity Dentist Loses License After Malpractice Claims

In 2004, there was a reality TV series on Fox called The Swan. The purpose of the program was to select a contestant, and assign a panel of specialists to turn the “ugly duckling” into a swan. Specialists included a coach, therapist, physical trainer, cosmetic surgeons, and dentist. The dentist on the show has since lost her license to practice after a number of complaints of negligence. 

Doctors in Television Appearances Does Not Indicate Quality

Last month, we discussed TV doctors and botched surgeries after a woman appeared on the series The Doctors to get butt implants. She later suffered pain, disfigurement, and terrible scarring as a result of the cosmetic operation. Now, we’re highlighting similar problems with cosmetic dentistry. 

Newport Beach dentist, Dr. Sherri Lee Worth, showed potential patients her list of celebrity clients, including Motley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, and Nip/Tuck actor Kelly Carlson. Ingrid Valdez was convinced by Dr. Worth’s confidence that she could fix a fractured tooth, discolored front teeth, and a “gummy smile.” 

Cosmetic Dental Procedures Lead to Medical Malpractice

After extensive treatment, which included almost 2 dozen crown and veneer placements, at a cost of $45,000, Valdez was sent home. Immediately after the procedures, Valdez began experiencing throbbing pain and sensitivity. She later consulted with a number of other dentists who found the dental work to be substandard. To repair the damage, Worth had to undergo 8 root canals and two gum surgeries. 

During an initial arbitration, to settle the dispute over the treatments, Worth claimed Valdez only suffered temporary irritation. However, the arbitrator found that the medical charts were tampered with. Worth also claimed she could not provide documentation on the initial visit because she spilled Diet Coke on them. Valdez and her husband pursued a medical malpractice claim against worth and were awarded $641,542 for pain and suffering, economic loss, and other damages. 

Lawsuits and State Investigation Lead to Suspended License

After a number of complaints, the Dental Board of California investigated Worth’s practice, and found the following violations: 

  • Overdiagnosing patients with problems where there were no problems, including claims of decay, fractures, extreme wear, and cavities. The Board found she treated or extracted perfectly healthy teeth.
  • Performing laser surgery on gums with no periodontal surgery training and failing to refer that patient to a periodontist after reported extreme pain.
  • Failure to treat obvious decay in favor of expensive cosmetic dentistry.
  • Negligence in repeatedly preparing teeth for porcelain restorations in ways that caused excessive tooth reduction and lesions that required root canals, and causing unnecessary pain and suffering.
  • Negligence in providing 112 crowns and veneers for six patients, of which 60 of the porcelain restorations were shown to be defective.
  • Billing patients for laser surgery that was never provided. 
  • Failure to replace clearly defective porcelain restorations, concealing defective work, and falsely informing patients they had to get endodontist and periodontist work done in her office where she shared in the fees.
  • Rewriting and falsifying dental records, including digitally altering a dental x-ray to make two defective porcelain restorations appear acceptable.  

As part of an agreement with the Dental Board, Worth surrendered her license to practice dentistry. Her license remains inactive under “voluntary surrendered” status. 

Dental Malpractice Lawyers

Dental malpractice can be painful, make it difficult to eat, and make one embarrassed to show their smile. If you suffered an injury or required multiple follow-up surgeries to fix a dental mistake, it’s critical to speak with a medical malpractice attorney who has experience with these cases. To discuss your case with a member of our legal team, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today. 

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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