Dentists 'cringe' at reports about questionable care

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by BYRON HARRIS

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WFAA

Posted on April 22, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Updated Sunday, Apr 22 at 10:21 PM

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For the past year, News 8 has been investigating the worst of dentistry in Texas.

We uncovered evidence that millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on questionable dental care under Medicaid.

The problem was highlighted in a Senate hearing last month in Austin which found there was lax regulation by the state involving a few hundred dentists who have collected half a billion dollars in the last four years.

The vast majority of dentists operate ethically — and some of them are committed to correcting the damage that others have done.

You may remember Prentiss Brown. He can't remember his two front teeth.

He wasn't even two years old when a dentist slapped crowns on his four front teeth and charged Medicaid $1,161.

"The caps was in there crooked," said his mother, Demera Brown.

Later, Prentiss' mouth swelled up and two teeth had to be pulled.

Pediatric dentist Dr. Robert Morgan was following this report on Channel 8. "And when I saw the story, I said to myself, 'This is not going well; what can we do?'"

Dr. Morgan took a look at Prentiss and volunteered to fix his problem.

Prentiss' mom brought him to Children's Medical Center Dallas, where ultimately Dr. Morgan will have to pull the two remaining teeth that dentist number one put caps on months ago.

"I'm going have to drain the pus off of his face, and I'm going to have to take the last of his four front teeth out," Dr. Morgan explained.

The procedure will take place under anesthesia. The first time — under dentist number one — Prentiss was strapped on a board while he was partially awake.

That's something that traumatizes many young patients against dentistry for life.

"For every dentist who holds somebody down and does crowns like this, there's a thousand of us who just cringe," Dr. Morgan said.

Dr. Morgan added that he's now performed 22 Medicaid re-dos since January for free.

Other area dentists say they're ready to do the same.

E-mail bharris@wfaa.com

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