Updated at end, with resignation
ORIGINAL POST JUNE 4 2:00 P.M.: Ingrid Valdez consulted Newport Beach dentist Dr. Sherri Lee Worth in 2009 hoping Worth would change Valdez's “gummy smile,” a fractured tooth and her discolored front teeth. Dr. Worth's website showed her work with celebrities like Motley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, American Idol singer Ace Young, and Kelly Carlson from Nip/Tuck, all of which earned Valdez's trust; she and her husband, Barry Cosgrove, paid Worth $45,000 for nearly two dozen crown and veneer placements.
The procedure aftermath resulted in a malpractice lawsuit, in which Orange County Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Glass ordered the Newport Beach dentist to pay $641,542 to Valdez for pain and suffering damages, general damages and economic loss due to Dr. Worth's wrecked dental work.
“This case is being used in dental schools and ethics classes on what not to do in dentistry,” Cosgrove said.
Following the procedure, Valdez immediately experienced throbbing pain and extreme sensitivity in her mouth. She subsequently consulted five other dentists, all of whom found Worth's work substandard and in need of restoration; those dentists recommended further work to rectify Worth's wrongs, which meant eight root canals and two gum surgeries to fix the damage, said her husband.
When Worth was questioned about her work, she retained that Valdez suffered from temporary irritation from the cement used to place the permanent crowns, according to court documents. After examining the opposing claims, arbitrator Joseph Thielen found medical charts tampered and wrote that part of her testimony “defies believability,” in reference to the defendant's claim that she could not be provide documents on Valdez's initial visit because she spilled diet coke on them. Theilen also wrote that Worth's other answers were evasive.
Worth is currently meddled in three other malpractice lawsuits, all of which, like Valdez, involve restorative dentistry.
UPDATE, JULY 13 1:00 PM: Sherri Worth discontinued her membership from the California Dental Association, and, by default, from the American Dental Association and Orange County Dental Society. As a result, she is no longer subjected to peer review, a process that allows patients to seek and obtain a free review of the dentist's work and a potential refund if it was found substandard.
The process is an alternative for patients who don't want to file a lawsuit. Dentists must comply with the peer review decision, should it result in the patient's favor. Sources say that there were pending peer review complaints that cannot go forward due to Worth's resignation, however, the dental associations cannot comment on them.