Dental firm sues patient over negative comments

A Georgia dental practice has filed a defamation lawsuit against a former patient after she complained about the practice in the News & Observer, a newspaper based in Raleigh, NC, according to news reports.

Spelios and Associates, based in Alpharetta, GA, also has dental offices in North Carolina. Lorna DeWalle went to the Cary, NC, office in January and was told she had gingivitis and severe tartar buildup and would need a full mouth debridement before routine cleaning, at a cost of $400, according to the newspaper. She subsequently went to another dentist for a second opinion and was told she did not need the debridement.

DeWalle filed a complaint with the North Carolina Dental Society in March to get Spelios and Associates to reverse the charges for x-rays and a new patient exam, the paper reported. She also filed a complaint with the North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners, made statements about the practice in the News & Observer "Triangle Troubleshooter" column, and left comments about the practice on the newspaper's Web site.

In a lawsuit filed April 15, Spelios and Associates stated that those comments were false and have affected business at its practices, prompting several patients to cancel appointments. The lawsuit seeks damages of more than $10,000, the paper reported.

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