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Dental Board Appears Before Legislative Committee After Finding In Favor Of Lewiston Dentist

The Maine Board of Dental Practice last week decided against taking disciplinary action against a Lewiston dentist who faced dozens of complaints from patients. At the State House on Wednesday, lawmakers questioned the board’s executive director about the case.

The Maine Board of Dental Practice appeared before the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee to report on a review of its statutes and rules, as required by Maine law. In light of that review, Democratic state Rep. Anne-Marie Mastraccio asked about a recent disciplinary hearing for Lewiston dentist Dr. Jan Kippax.

“What do we have to do in Maine, what are we not doing in this Dental Practice Act, to make sure that the public is being served? And I think you know exactly what I’m referring to in terms of an oral surgeon who had so many complaints. And I’m just concerned that the process we have is adequate,” she said.

Eighteen patients lodged nearly 200 complaints against Kippax, prompting the board to temporarily suspend his license about a year ago. The complaints cited allegations such as extracting the wrong teeth, performing procedures before anesthesia took effect and continuing painful procedures even when patients asked him to stop.

This fall, the board held several hearings to determine whether any further disciplinary action should be taken. After two experts testified that Kippax did not violate the standard of care, the board found in his favor last week.

Mastraccio pressed board Executive Director Penny Vaillancourt on whether that outcome indicates an issue with fulfilling the board’s mission to protect public health.

“So you are satisfied though that the process that we have for addressing complaints, the way that it’s currently written and done, is adequate?” Mastraccio said.

“I do,” Vaillancourt said.

Vaillancourt declined to answer specific questions about the disciplinary hearings against Kippax, but she did say that the case is not closed.