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BY RACHEL COOK Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
A Bakersfield specialized dentist testified Friday that a former patient of Dr. Robert Tupac told him that Tupac didn't wear a mask and was dripping sweat into her mouth as he extracted all of her teeth.
Dr. Peter Bae also testified that the patient, Shelia Rios, told him that Tupac had poor bedside manner and was making "sexual and vulgar" comments to his assistant.
Tupac, a prosthodontist with an office in Bakersfield, faces a long list of accusations, including gross negligence, leveled against him by the Dental Board of California. The allegations stem from complaints that Rios, another patient and Bakersfield dentist Robert Reed made to the dental board about Tupac.
Bae was the final of five dentists to testify to the alleged problems with Tupac's work at a hearing in downtown Los Angeles this week.
Bae, who is also a prosthodontist, said he saw Rios in July 2008, after Tupac had pulled all of her teeth and given her dental implants. He said her case was one of the worst he has seen.
Like the dentists who testified before him this week, Bae said treatment planning is essential.
"There are countless things to think about before jumping into a case like this," he said.
Rios told Bae that she visited Tupac and the very next day, he took out all of her teeth, Bae said.
He recounted several other problems Rios told him she encountered with Tupac.
Bae said Rios told him she specifically asked for IV sedation for the procedure, but that it was not provided. Before Tupac placed her restoration, he asked her to sign a paper attesting that she liked him and that if she didn't sign it, Rios would not get her restoration, Bae said.
Deputy Attorney General Morgan Malek asked Bae if such action was within the dental standard of care. He said it was not.
Bae said pictures taken when Rios visited him show "very unaesthetic restorations. They're not pretty."
He said her crowns "were ridiculously bulbous."
The implants were also in the wrong position, he said.
"It's very rare to see implants placed this poorly," Bae said.
The arch of Rios' lower bridge was too narrow, crowding her tongue, Bae said.
Bae said he knew the work in Rios' mouth would fail.
He also testified that he has seen about 15 patients after Tupac has treated them for issues pertaining to aesthetics, bite and implants. Bae, who has practiced in Bakersfield for 18 years, said he does not place implants himself because he believes there are people far more qualified to do that work.
He testified that two of the witnesses who have also testified against Tupac -- Dr. Robert Reed and retired dentist Mark Katz -- in the course of the hearing both have good reputations. Tupac's reputation is "very poor," Bae testified.
Tupac's attorney, Jason Friedman, asked Bae if he contacted Tupac about Rios' treatment at any point. Bae said that he did not.
After the hearing ended at about 10:30 a.m., Friedman said Bae's testimony was not surprising. Bae is the only other full-time prosthodontist in Bakersfield, a direct competitor of Tupac, Friedman said.
During the hearing, Bae testified that he does not have any bias against Tupac.
The hearing continues next week with dental board investigator Stephen Nicas testifying Tuesday and Dr. Victor Pineschi, a periodontist, picking up his testimony Friday.