A dentist in Alaska is facing a cascade of court raps amid allegations of Medicaid fraud and "unlawful dental acts."
The Hoverboard Dentist
Aside from allegedly going on an IV sedation spree amounting to $1.9 million on dental procedures that don't necessarily require it, Seth Lookhart, 31, of Clear Creek Dental is also in trouble for several unprofessional misdemeanor offenses.
The most disturbing one would probably be pulling an unconscious patient's teeth while atop a hoverboard, or a self-balancing scooter.
'New Standard Of Care'
Investigators found the video of the appalling incident on Lookhart's own mobile phone. According to reports, the Anchorage-based dentist even forwarded the video to his office manager, Shauna Cranford, who is also facing several felony fraud charges, quipping that the hoverboard procedure is the "new standard of care."
The Alaska State Department of Law, Medicaid Fraud Control Unit issued a statement this week saying that Lookhart was officially charged Monday (April 17) with 10 felony offenses — including medical assistance fraud, theft, scheme to defraud, unlawful dental acts, and practicing dentistry without a license.
Should he be convicted, he can be sentenced up to 10 years in prison, up to $100,000 in penalties, and be ordered to repay Medicaid and affected defendants as much as $2.5 million in fees.
— Alaska Dispatch News (@adndotcom) April 20, 2017
Which Dental Procedures Require Sedation
In general, dentists may recommend the use of anesthesia or sedation to help relax patients, relieve pain, and ease anxiety in order to safely complete dental procedures.
Sedation dentistry may be appropriate particularly for:
• Young children who are terrified or who may find it hard to stay put and sit still
• Adults who have low pain threshold, bad gag reflex, or extremely sensitive teeth
• Complicated dental procedures that may require more time
There are many types of sedation used in dentistry, such as inhaled minimal sedation, oral sedation, intravenous moderate sedation, deep sedation, and general anesthesia.
Not All Dentists Can Give Deep Sedation And General Anesthesia
In the case of Lookhart, the patient was apparently totally unconscious when the hoverboard act happened.
It's important to know that while most dentists today can give moderate sedation, only those who have completed the Commission on Dental Accreditation or CODA program are permitted to administer deep sedation and general anesthesia. These dentists are mostly oral and maxillofacial surgeons and dentist anesthesiologists.
State dental boards have stringent rules and guidelines when it comes to sedation in dentistry and require dentists to secure permits for this.