Prescribing Painkillers in Non-Dental Condition Is Crime
A dental clinic in Topeka has been fined for not having a dentist check the patients as often as required as well as for painkiller violations. The Gage Dental Group has to pay $9,500 in fines according to the Kansas Dental Board.
Dentist Robert Hall was given a $3,000 fine for continuously prescribing pain relievers to a patient for a non-dental condition for 18 months. He didn’t maintain up-to-date records to explain why the prescriptions were required.
The documents from the Kansas Dental Board showed Hall prescribed Lortab and tramadol for a patient suffering from trigeminal neuralgia, which is a pain condition linked to a nerve in the head. The condition causes severe pain that patients describe as electric shock. It can be constant or sporadic. The condition can cause pain in the mouth and jaw. Dental hygiene practices such as flossing or brushing teeth can be painful but it is not a dental health condition.
Hall and other Gage Dental Group dentists, Darin Loewen and Bruce Banks, were disciplined for allowing dental hygienists to provide dental care to patients who were not seen dentists in the past year. Loewen and Banks were fined $1,000 each, and the nine hygienists were fined $500 for doing dental hygiene procedures on patients who were not examined by a dentist first. Other dentists in the practice were not given any disciplinary actions.
The investigation made by the Kansas Dental Board was based on a complaint but no patient was harmed during any procedure made by the dental clinic. The Kansas Dental Practices Act requires that patients must first be examined by a dentist within the past year before a dental hygienist can work on them. Dental hygienists are not allowed to diagnose dental diseases and this is why a dentist must first check the mouths of the patients.
Photo by Kim M. Allain [Public domain], undefined