Orthodontic Woes Lead to Investigation and Lawsuit
When I saw the story in this morning’s Victoria Advocate about the Medicaid investigation that’s affecting orthodontic patients right here in Victoria, I wondered what it would be like to be a patient stuck in the middle like that. Now imagine what it would be like to have braces stuck on your teeth for 11 years. Yes, 11 YEARS.
That’s how long Devin Bost, now 22, was outfitted with braces on his teeth. We know what you’re thinking. Those must have been some crooked chompers, right? Wrong. Turns out that Bost is now suing Oregon orthodontist Brad Chvatal for $150,000, along with $35,100 in attorney fees, as compensation for surgeries and expenses related to tooth and gum problems he sustained as a result of wearing braces for half his life.
Bost wore braces from age 7 to 18. His attorney David Hollander claims that Bost is facing extractions and implants, both painful and expensive processes. Even worse, removal of some teeth is not possible since some have rotted down to the jawbone, meaning more extensive work will be required.
“What I’m told by the experts is, ‘You can’t do this. You can’t keep them on that long. It’s just not done,’” Hollander told The Oregonian (quotes via CBS Seattle.)
The orthodontic standard for wearing of braces is 1 to 3 years, according to Dr. John F. Buzzatto, president of the American Association of Orthodontists.
Bost has spent $35,000 in corrective dental bills so far. He has had to travel across the country to meet with one of the nation’s leading dentists in Boston to survey the damage.
Bost claims that he first visited Chvatal in August of 1997, after another ortho affixed the braces to his teeth. So while Chvatal did not install the braces — which was done at a very young age, we might add — he is the one who left them on for an inordinate amount of time.
Chvatal has a different account of their doctor-patient relationship and there are discrepancies in terms of when Bost came under Chvatal’s care and how often he was seen for regular check ups. He told The Oregonian that it’s unlikely that he treated Bost until 2002, which is when he became licensed to legally practice orthodontics as a specialty. He could not comment on the case, due to patient privacy laws.
Hollander said that his client did visit Chvatal’s office periodically, as is customary, but also admitted that Bost did not see the ortho as often as he should have. So it’d appear that Bost has some culpability in his oral hygiene (or lack thereof).
Bost received an urgent call from Chvatal’s office in June 2008, and was told the braces needed to come off and stat.
One has to wonder where Ma and Pa Bost were as all this unfolded. Weren’t they wondering when Devin’s braces would be removed? Sounds to us like both dentist and patient are both at fault for this dental drama.