‘No brace’ dentist fined $25,000
A MELBOURNE dentist well known for introducing a no-brace method for straightening children’s teeth has been fined $25,000 after he used elastic bands to treat a boy’s gap teeth.
Dr Ari Masters, whose website claims he is ”known globally for his clinical excellence” and that his No Brace Centre is one of the busiest practices in the world, ignored basic dental science taught since 1870 and caused his young patient serious dental damage ”and perhaps lifelong consequences”, a tribunal has found.
The fine comes a year after the Dental Practice Board ordered Dr Masters to pay $17,500 for false radio and internet advertising and other professional breaches. Before-and-after photographs of patients and patients’ testimonials – both banned by a dentists’ professional code – were still on his clinic’s website yesterday.
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard that Dr Masters failed to warn a patient’s parents of the risk involved with treating a gap in the teeth with elastic bands.
”His treatment has led to serious dental damage and perhaps lifelong consequences for Dr Masters’ young patient,” the tribunal found.
The tribunal said Dr Masters’ lack of knowledge about treatment risk taught at university raised the possibility of other gaps in his knowledge.
The tribunal found that when the boy’s parents complained about his actions, Dr Masters initially demonstrated a lack of empathy for his patient and was more concerned about his own reputation.
Two years later, when the tribunal hearing took place, the dentist finally admitted he had failed to obtain informed consent from the boy’s parents when he gave them elastic bands to treat their son’s gap teeth, which caused the boy severe loss of bone tissue.
The tribunal cautioned and reprimanded Dr Masters and fined him $25,000. As a condition of his registration, files of 15 of his patients will be audited. The latest fine comes after Dr Masters was fined in November 2009 over a radio advertisement and claims on his website about the virtues of the no-brace method.
The radio ad said a mouthguard-like device known as the My brace was ”a better alternative” to braces and ”works because it has been used successfully in over 65 countries.”
The No Brace Centre’s website featured patients’ before-and-after photos and testimonials, prohibited by the Dental Practice Act.
The Dental Practice Board heard there was no scientific basis for the claims made in the advertisements. The board said that while it was unable to find that it was Dr Masters’ intention to provide false, misleading or deceptive advertising material, his clinic’s website was misleading and deceptive without supportive evidence.
The board reprimanded Dr Masters for unprofessional conduct, ordered him to ensure future advertising was not false, misleading or deceptive and fined him $10,000.
He was also fined $7500 for failing to comply with rules on continuing professional development.
This story was found at: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/no-brace-dentist-fined-25000-20110105-19g91.html