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An Ohio periodontist kept practicing despite losing his license for the third time. He now faces drug charges.
When an Ohio periodontist refused to hand over a patient’s dental records, the patient knew something was wrong.
The patient called the Geauga County Prosecutors Office, who quickly opened up a probe into the matter. Investigators found more than they bargained for.
Last week, prosecutors arrested Jeffrey Becker, DDS, on charges of practicing dentistry without a license and prescribing narcotics without a license.
As it turns out, the state dental board had already been watching Becker at the time the patient called the county prosecutor to complain about Becker’s refusal to turn over records.
Becker lost his license to practice dentistry in May after a variety of charges. The Geauga County Maple Leaf reported that the charges included refusing to undergo an assessment for alcohol and drug impairment.
It wasn’t the first time Becker has gotten into trouble with state regulators.
The Norwalk Reflector reported that Becker had his Ohio license suspended in 2007, but was allowed to return to practice after signing a consent agreement. Meanwhile, the state of Wisconsin revoked Becker's license to practice there in 2013.
Despite losing his license on May 18, officials allege Becker extracted a tooth in late May and prescribed medication to the patient.
Then, in June, prosecutors say Becker sedated a patient and delivered narcotics intravenously, even though he no longer had authorization to administer the drugs.
In mid-June, officials from the Ohio State Dental Board confronted Becker, who reportedly admitted to treating patients “because he cared about his patients and they were in pain, and he was trying to help them.”
A Geauga County investigator noted that before the drugs were involved, practicing without a license might have only been a misdemeanor. But the investigator told the Maple Leaf that the use of narcotics in those procedures brought the charges up to the level of a felony.
Meanwhile, patients might still have trouble getting access to their records. Prosecutors seized documents from Becker’s practice, but they did not take patient dental records. If patients want to access their records, prosecutors said they’ll have to contact Becker.