When dentists do a root canal they are supposed to use steel posts, and definitely not paper clips. A dentist from Massachusetts has just received a 1-year prison sentence at the Bristol County House of Correction, for using paper clips for just such procedures – he had faced charges of assault and battery, as well as defrauding Medicaid to the tune of $130,000, and intimidating a witness.

Dr. Michael Clair, according to prosecutors, in an effort to reduce costs, would use parts of paper clips for root canals. A number of patients developed a range of problems, including infections.

When Brenda Almeida’s son underwent a root canal in 2005, his tooth went black and had to be taken out. Almeida claims her other two children received substandard dental treatment from Dr. Clair.

Almeida is annoyed, because she feels Clair got off lightly with a 1-year jail sentence.

After Judge Richard Moses passed sentence, Almeida said:

“He put my kids in pain for months …
I hope he rots there.”

The prosecutors had requested a five-to-seven year sentence. After the sentence was imposed, the prosecutors, as well as the defense team, refused to comment.

The judge said that certain mitigating factors were taken into account before passing sentence. These included the ex-dentist’s lack of criminal record, some mental health issues, plus that fact that he fully accepted responsibility for what he had done.

A request from the prosecutors that Clair stay away from his victims, as well as seven working colleagues, was granted by Judge Moses. Apparently, his former staff members were and are concerned for their own safety.

Of the 2.5 year sentence, all but one year was suspended. Clair will have to complete five years of probation after leaving prison.

At the end of the sentencing, Clair said:

“Thank you, your honor, for
your consideration.”

Clair lost his Massachusetts dental practice license in 2006. He is now banned from practicing dentistry anywhere in the USA.

Even though Clair was suspended by Medicaid in 2002, claims filed by him continued from August 2004 to June 2005 – he used other dentists name when completing the form, all colleagues in his practice.

Written by Christian Nordqvist