Patient files complaints against dentist for unreturned teeth

Dr. Ryan Barney
Dr. Ryan Barney

A teen has filed a police report and lodged complaints with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and dental board because a dentist refused to give him the four molars he had extracted, according to a story published June 23 in the Benson News-Sun.

Samuel Vaughan, 18, filed complaints against Dr. Ryan Barney, of Benson Family Dental Care in Benson and Wilcox, AZ, for failing to return his extracted teeth, which were covered in some blood, to him because they were considered a hazardous material, according to the story.

Despite arguments from Vaughan, of Whetstone, and his mother that the blood was his own and that they would promptly secure the molars and take them home, Barney tossed the teeth along with bloody gauze into a hazardous material container.

Although there are no U.S. laws or regulations that prohibit or discourage clinicians from returning pulled teeth to patients, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Bloodborne Pathogen Standard does consider extracted teeth as potentially infectious materials that should be handled appropriately.

Barney, who has been a dentist for 25 years. said in the story that he doesn’t make any exceptions when it comes to giving adult patients their pulled teeth due to the blood having the potential to carry bloodborne diseases. Decayed teeth can never be completely sterilized of bacteria.

Although Vaughan called the failure to get back his teeth “fraud” and “theft,” he stated that police reportedly told him that this may not be a criminal case, but may possibly be a civil matter.

If Vaughan doesn’t get anywhere with the dental board or state attorney general, he plans to file a civil suit against Barney, according to the story. 

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