Missouri board puts dentist's license on probation amid allegations of unsanitary conditions

Michael Sawyer, DDS, has agreed to have his license placed on probation for three years after an investigation into potentially unsanitary practices at his office, according to the Missouri Dental Board.

The discipline was part of a settlement agreement with the board, which began investigating after a patient complained in 2019 that Dr. Sawyer's office was "extremely unsanitary." The patient also claimed that she went in for a tooth extraction, but the dentist lacked the proper tools to remove the root tip.

In the summer of 2019, state investigators found trays with bloody utensils in Dr. Sawyer's sterilization room. Investigators couldn't determine how long it had been since the utensils were used. There was no evidence to suggest the dentist had used sterilization equipment, according to the agreement.

In a statement cited by The Springfield News-Leader, Dr. Sawyer said he's never had infection control issues and always sterilizes his instruments. He said he would "try harder in the future" and potentially take infection control classes.

In 2013, the Missouri Dental Board placed Dr. Sawyer's license on probation following allegations of substandard care.

Dr. Sawyer didn't immediately return the News-Leader's request for comment.

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