SmileDirectClub's stock down as top dentist risks losing license
The at-home dentistry company's stock was down 8%
SmileDirectClub could use some help from the tooth fairy.
The stock for the teeth-straightening service was down 8 percent Wednesday following a report that said its top dentist, Chief Clinical Officer Jeffrey Sulitzer, could lose his California license following a two-year investigation by the state dental board, Reuters reported.
Sulitzer is accused of violating state law, defrauding state dental regulators and acting with gross negligence toward patients while helping SmileDirectClub grow its business, according to a 24-page complaint by California’s Attorney General’s office as reported by Reuters.
SMILEDIRECTCLUB TEETH-STRAIGHTENING KITS COSTING CONSUMERS MORE
The document alleges Sulitzer committed fraud when he applied to operate dental offices in the state and assumed liability for services he offered patients. What’s more, the office locations were reportedly controlled by SmileDirectClub, which, according to the complaint, isn’t licensed to practice dentistry in the state and mandates customers sign liability waivers before getting the treatment.
It’s the latest set of allegations against the Nashville, Tennessee-based company, which has been under fire after an NBC News report surfaced with patients reporting problems such as mouth pain, broken teeth and nerve damage from the company’s aligners. There have been more than 1,800 complaints across the country, according to the Better Business Bureau, from people who used the at-home dental kit service, which guarantees straighter teeth at a fraction of the cost of braces — under $2,000 — without having the step inside an orthodontist’s office.
The California AG also accesses Sulitzer of “aiding and abetting” SmileDirectClub in the unlicensed practice of density and is aiming to suspend his 16-year-old California dental license.
The company’s website says Sulitzer “leads all SmileDirectClub’s licensed dentists and orthodontists,” which includes more than 200 medical professionals, it says. SmileDirectClub did not immediately return FOX Business's request for comment.
SmileDirect called the allegations filed by the Dental Board of California against Sulitzer as "unfounded" and "untrue" in a statement.
"Dr. Sulitzer, who has been in practice for more than 35 years, has been licensed in the State of California since 2003 and continues to be in good standing with the state licensing bodies. The baseless claims in the accusation are entirely without merit, and were filed in direct retaliation to SmileDirectClub's efforts to address the Board's prior wrongful conduct in failing to stop its investigator from threatening and intimidating customers and employees at SmileShops in California," a spokesperson for SmileDirect said in a statement.
California passed a bill in October as a response to concerns about the teledentistry business requiring practitioners to review a patient’s dental X-rays before proving them with aligners or any orthodontic treatment.