Federal agents, police raid Georgia dental office

ROME, Ga. — Federal agents and police raided a children’s dentistry practice in a northwest Georgia town Thursday, saying they were responding to complaints that patients were improperly restrained.


Authorities executed a search warrant at the Rome dentist’s office to obtain records in a criminal investigation, Rome police said.

The search was done after numerous complaints regarding “the improper use of restraints as well as the improper and/or unnecessary performance of dental work on minor children,” police said in a statement.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services was involved in the search.

The investigation began in May 2011, when the mother of a 3-year-old girl told police her daughter was tied down and injured during a dental appointment, a search warrant affidavit in Floyd County Superior Court states.

The probe then widened, and now includes several other families and children, The Rome News-Tribune reported. Records of more than 300 patients with Medicaid are being investigated, according to the search warrant affidavit.

Rome police Detective Joe Costolnick wrote in the affidavit that he has probable cause to believe cruelty to children has occurred, though police say no charges have been filed.

A phone message left with the dentist’s office Friday was not immediately returned.

The News-Tribune reported that the affidavit lists 11 reports of excessive dentistry work performed on 14 children that resulted in serious medical problems and trauma.

Kelly Alford told the newspaper that her son had four teeth unnecessarily pulled at the dentist’s office three years ago, when he was 9 years old.

She said a dentist and dental hygienists tied him down and that his mouth bled for more than a day afterward, leading to a trip to the emergency room.