MORRISTOWN (WATE) — A local woman joins a five-month investigation by 6 On Your Side of dissatisfied dental patients of Dr. Paul Muscari in Morristown. Polly Booth spent more than $6,000 at his office over two years but has little to show for it. So she filed a complaint with the state.
Polly used to enjoy eating regular food but beef hash is about all she can chew now because she has no teeth.
It was more than two years ago when Polly first visited Dr. Muscari’s office to begin extensive dental care. “These six teeth up here would have been crowned,” she says.
But Polly still has no crowns and no upper teeth. And after spending more than $6,000 in cash, she and her husband, Jack Booth, are desperate.
“Her health has deteriorated. She still can’t eat because the teeth they put in her mouth don’t work,” Jack says.
Polly was given temporary partials 16 months ago. There’s also a pair of false teeth that don’t fit. And Polly says there were big gaps in her dental care over the last two years.
February 2005 – “He takes and drills all my teeth off. He prepares them to put caps on,” Polly says.
May 2005 – As her mouth healed, Polly returned for her teeth. “He told me my teeth had come in but they didn’t look good enough to suit him.”
August 2005 – Polly still had no teeth. She phoned Dr. Muscari’s office. “He said, ‘They came in but I sent them back.’ I’m like, shouldn’t you have tried them?”
November 2005 – Polly’s temporary caps arrived. “This is not any use to me. It really never was,” she says of the caps and a tube of PoliGrip she was given. She also says the sharp edges on the caps would cut her mouth and gums and the caps wouldn’t stay in her mouth.
January 2006 – Polly still has no permanent crowns. “He keeps telling me he’s going to do something, be patient. I need to be patient. And I felt I had been patient long enough.”
November 2006 – Polly returned to Dr. Muscari’s office. She says with no explanation, he began numbing her gums. “I turn around and say, what are you doing to me? He says, ‘Be still.’ Jack jumps up and says, ‘He’s pulling your teeth.'”
Jack recalls more about that day. “Her mouth is bleeding. He’s cut her gums. He cut bones out of it. He didn’t make anything right and there was nothing I could do.”
“I just can’t believe he did that to me,” Polly says. And Jack adds, “They hadn’t delivered on what they promised. They breached their contract with us. There was just nothing I could do.”
The Booths contacted the state Department of Health’s licensing board in Nashville. Polly filled out a lengthy complaint about quality of care and service issues against Dr. Muscari.
Denise Moran heads the office of investigations but she would not talk specifically about allegations made against Muscari.
Moran did tell 6 On Your Side, “Quality of service might be work that has been started but not completed, work that has been done not to the appropriate standard of care for dentistry in the state of Tennessee. Malpractice is actually the failure to do a procedure within a certain standard of care, a minimum competency standard.”
6 On Your Side wrote to Dr. Muscari about Polly’s care, asking why her crowns never arrived. Polly signed a HIPAA release giving Muscari permission to talk about her case. He has not responded.
“I don’t have any teeth at all up here. They’re all gone. He pulled all of those. But I have this piece that I can’t wear and these two pieces that I can’t wear. I have nothing,” Polly says.
6 On Your Side called Dr. Muscari’s office Thursday but got no response.
We don’t know how long the state’s investigation into allegations against the Morristown dentist may take. But we do know 10 patients of Muscari’s have contacted the state’s dental board and been interviewed.