Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Morning Drill: September 19, 2012

Good Wednesday morning!

On to today's dentistry and health headlines:

NY dentist sues Yelp over bad reviews

A Manhattan cosmetic dentist is suing Yelp over bad reviews, claiming the site lists only defamatory reviews and filters out positive ones.

The complaint, filed July 25 in Manhattan Supreme Court by Mal Braverman, DMD, states that the negative reviews have cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars while boosting Yelp's website traffic. The suit seeks $400,000 in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages.

Yelp is accused of libel and slander for publishing negative reviews, causing "great financial and personal harm" to Dr. Braverman by containing material that is "false, intentionally misleading, and defamatory," according to the complaint.

Dr. Braverman also claims that the site recommends other dentists who are Yelp advertisers.

A check of the site revealed four negative reviews of Dr. Braverman, in which he responded with apologies if there were a misunderstanding. Good reviews appear to be left up for only a day or two before they are "filtered" to a link near the bottom of the page."

Dr. Braverman -- a co-founder and past president of the New York chapter of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry and a fellow of the International Academy of Dental-Facial Esthetics -- has 19 positive reviews, but they're not easy to see. To find them, you have to click on a faint ("19 Filtered") link. Additionally, the page shows links for five of Dr. Braverman's competitors who are listed under a "Best of Yelp New York cosmetic dentists" red banner.

"What they're doing is absolutely despicable," Dr. Braverman told "It's all for the aggrandizement of their business, period. It's just to publish slanderous, defamatory reviews and censure all the good ones."

Yelp did not respond to requests for comment as of press time.

Local dentist wins second Calistoga culinary award

Dr. Stephen Prevost has had his general dentistry practice in Rockaway since 1977. Many of his patients have been with him since his doors opened. One relatively new patient is also a big fan.

"I've been a patient since 2011," said long-time Pacifican Evelyn Safiri. "Dr. Prevost is a great dentist and a wonderful man. He cares about every aspect of his patient's well-being and his work is gentle and painless. He also gives his patient's questions his complete attention — to say nothing of his senior discount!"

When the dentist is not devoting his time to bringing healthy smiles to his patients, he is planning his next effort to make the taste buds sing.

"I take a lot of cooking courses, especially in Napa Valley," Prevost said. "And I have particularly enjoyed courses on Moroccan and Asian cuisines. Additionally, I have taken some cooking vacations in Mexico. I just find that I really like cooking."

Dentistry administrator demoted over relationship with resident

A University of Florida College of Dentistry administrator has been demoted over an inappropriate relationship with a resident.

Dr. Timothy Wheeler denied a sexual relationship, but a university investigation found that he provided the woman with educational opportunities not given to other residents.

Wheeler had served as senior associate dean, director of the School of Advanced Dental Sciences and chairman of the Department of Orthodontics.

College of Dentistry Dean Teresa Dolan demoted Wheeler from those positions, but he will continue teaching and research as a tenured professor, UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes said. His annual salary of nearly $312,000 will be cut by $35,000.

Dentist sentenced for tax evasion

A Salt Lake County dentist was sent to prison for tax evasion after he failed to complete probation.

Benjamin Lee Gilstrap, 60, was ordered Monday to serve up to five years in prison after he failed to repay $242,237 in back taxes, according to a press release by the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

Gilstrap was originally charged with five third-degree felony counts of tax evasion; and four counts of intent to defeat the payment of a tax, attempted tax evasion, and pattern of unlawful activity, all second-degree felonies, court records indicate. The Utah Tax Commission alleged Gilstrap filed no tax returns for his Sandy dental practice from 2003 to 2007, when he earned nearly $1.5 million.

As part of a plea bargain in 2011, he pleaded guilty to tax evasion and attempted tax evasion, third-degree felonies, and agreed to pay full restitution. Tax Commission investigators said Gilstrap was charged for violations during just a five-year period, but they found he failed to file tax returns as far back as commission records are kept.

Enjoy your morning!

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