A dentist pulled 28 healthy teeth from a 23-year-old man's mouth for no good reason, and charged more than $5,000 to a credit card belonging to the man's mother, according to a lawsuit filed last week St. Louis, Missouri, County Court.
According to the court papers, reported by the Courthouse News Service after the suit was filed on April 17, on May 7 of 2009, Skyler A. King visited the office of dentist Mark D. Meyers complaining of an abcessed tooth. To King's surprise, the suit alleges, Meyers told him that not only would he need the affected tooth pulled, as well as the teeth immediately surrounding it that may have been affected by the abcess — but he would need every single one of his teeth extracted and replaced by dentures or implants.
The allegations are reminiscent of an Indiana case last year in which a 21-year-old man, who is autistic, said that while he was sedated, a dentist pulled out all of his teeth rather than just the three that needed extraction.
In the Missouri case, King was told that without giving up all 32 of his teeth, he was in danger of blood poisoning which could prove fatal, according to the suit.
"Plaintiff has subsequently learned that the X-ray showed that plaintiff had at least twenty-eight (28) recoverable teeth imbedded in good bone and gums with a few fillings; and that one of said teeth, the lower right first molar, had a treatable abscess," the lawsuit says.
King first filed the lawsuit in 2010. At that time, Meyers testified in a deposition that King asked him to pull out all of his teeth. The lawsuit was then dismissed "without prejudice," meaning it could be filed again later. And that is exactly what happened.
King's new lawyer says that King did not know at the time that his teeth were healthy.
"Dr. Meyers didn't take an X-ray of Skyler's mouth until he returned the next day to have his teeth pulled," John S. Wallach told Courthouse News. "Dr. Meyers already made a determination to have the teeth pulled without the benefit of an X-ray."
Meyers declined comment on the lawsuit. But if King knew that most of his teeth were fine, there's no way he would let a dentist pull them, Wallach said.
"The question here is reasonability," Wallach said in the Courthouse News interview. "What 23-year-old would want all of their teeth pulled when they know they have teeth in good condition? Who would do that?"