Tulsa Dentist Accused Of Negligence Surrenders License

Wednesday, March 2nd 2011, 7:20 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A Tulsa dentist can no longer practice in the state of Oklahoma.

Dr. William Letcher's patients accused him of negligence, malpractice, unauthorized procedures and much more. He surrendered his license Tuesday night.

Letcher gave up his license just three days before the state dental board was likely going to yank it. He can't treat patients for five years and he can't appeal. If he does reapply in 2016, his file will still contain all the complaints.

Dr. Letcher ran infomercials bragging about a technique he created that would change people's lives. Former patients say he changed their lives for the worse.

"It cracked, it broke, the implants became unstable," Donna Nickols said. "I was unable to eat corn on the cob, apples, anything like that."

"All we want to do is eat," Lois Welch said. "If we could just eat, and not have pain and get our teeth together and then talk, without a lisp."

The News On 6 heard some complaints repeatedly: resin that broke, teeth that didn't fit, terrible pain, work that had to redone.

They say they paid Letcher between $15,000-$50,000 for their work, then thousands more to get it fixed elsewhere.  They've waited a year while Letcher's state hearing was postponed three times, because he was in rehab.

11/15/2010 Related Story: Hearing For Tulsa Dentist Accused Of Negligence Postponed Again

One patient recently won a judgment against Letcher. Others have sued, but since he didn't have malpractice insurance, getting reimbursed for their expenses may be tough.

"I couldn't believe how many people that's been affected by him. So man, and it's so sad," Pam Hambright said.

Dr. Bruce Horn has been the president of the State Dental Board for five years and has an excellent reputation. He says he feels for Letcher's unhappy patients, but hopes they are pleased he can no longer practice.

"Their goal was to make certain this type of dentistry would not happen to anyone else. I heard that over and over, so those patients will feel some satisfaction," he said.

State lawmakers are trying to pass a bill this year that would require dentists to have malpractice insurance.

Oklahoma will put this information into a national database, so if Letcher applies to work in another state, they'll know his history.

A little legwork could save you a lot of heartache when choosing a dentist:

  • Check with the state dental board to see if the dentist is licensed and if they've been in any serious trouble. Letcher had been in trouble twice before.
  • Find out if the dentist is a member of the Oklahoma Dental Association; they offer mediation.
  • Ask if the dentist has malpractice insurance and finally ask family and friends who they use.