A Skeptical Look at Alireza Panahpour, D.D.S.

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Alireza Panahpour, D.D.S., practices what he describes as biological, holistic, integrative, cosmetic, conscious and/or systemic dentistry. His primary office is in Bellevue, Washington. He also maintains an office in Santa Monica, California. which he visits monthly for follow-up appointments. This article examines his background history, credentials, Web site claims, professional activities, and legal difficulties and indicates why I recommend avoiding him.

Panahpour's clinic Web site says he offers "world-class biological & cosmetic dentistry." [1] His personal Web site describes him as a "world-class holistic and biological/systemic dental surgeon" and states that he is certified in holistic dentistry, biomimetic dentistry, and 17 medical sub-specialties [2].

The services mentioned on his clinic site include ozone therapy, platelet rich fibrin (PRF), dental deprogrammer treatment for TMJ, myofunctional therapy, homeopathic immunity IV support, removal of cavitations and faulty root canals, and amalgam removal using the Huggins protocol. His self-published book, The Good Dentist [3], adds that he opposes water fluoridation, uses autonomic response testing (ART), and often refers patients for thermography testing. His views on all of these these subjects differ from those of the scientific medical and dental community. In a YouTube video promoting his book, he mentions that his kind of dentistry is not taught in dental school. His offbeat practices include:

Family Background

Panahpour was born in Iran in 1966. His personal Web site describes his background this way:

I am a 5th generation dental surgeon. You could say that dentistry is in my blood. I have been a U.S. citizen for dozens of years, but my mother's ancestry made me royalty in my native country. In the royal tradition, I began life being educated as a leader and warrior. But I had always dreamed of following my father's, my grandfather's, my great-grandfather's and my great-great-grandfather's footsteps into a career in dentistry. I spent my childhood observing in my father's dental practice, working in the lab and, later, assisting in my dad's dental surgeries. I was fascinated with everything I could learn in the surgery room. My curiosity and my passion for healing others was inborn. Fortunately, my family supported my dream in pursuing the career that I feel that I was born to do. They sent me to some of the finest schools with the best reputations in America to continue our family's legacy: becoming one of the world's best doctors of dental surgery [10].

After practicing dentistry in Iran for many years, Panahpour's father moved his family to the United States, and practiced in California from 1985 through 1996. However, in 2001, his license was canceled and in 2005, the dental board denied his application for reinstatement because he had failed to disclose that in 2002 he had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in Nevada (admitting that he wrote $25,000 check to obtain chips at a casino when he knew that his bank account did not have sufficient funds to cover the amount). The administrative law judge who considered the father's reapplication concluded that he had not "demonstrated the level of honesty and integrity required of a licensee." The judge's report also noted that he had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was being treated with lithium [11,12].

Educational History and Performance

The CV posted to Panahpour's personal site states that he did undergraduate work at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) from 1982 through 1990. and took premed courses at California State University at UCLA from 1988 through 1990 [13]. If accurate, this would mean that he began at age 16 and continued until he was 24. However, transcripts and other official documents I have seen tell a different story,. They indicate that he graduated from high school in 1985 and that most of his undergraduate credits were obtained at Santa Monica College, a 2-year community college that is not part of UCLA. They also show that his academic performance in college and dental school was very poor:

Lawsuits by Patients

Panahpour has been sued for fraud and/or malpractice at least eleven times. At least six of the patients alleged that he had removed amalgam fillings unnecessarily. At least nine said that he had used autonomic response testing. At least seven said that he had used neural therapy, including three women who said he administered injections into their breasts. The eleven suits (involving twelve patients) had the following outcomes:

Plaintiff(s)

Outcome

Janeen Bauer

Dismissed because Panahpour filed bankruptcy

Chelsea Bib

Dismissed because Panahpour filed bankruptcy

Jill Cresap

Other defendants settled out of court, but the jury found in Panahpour's favor

Ripsime (Rita) Filikyan

Settled with undisclosed payment

Sarah Haynes

Settled with undisclosed payment

Vartan Mansuryan

Arbitration award of $2,805 against Panahpour

Pamela McGreevy

Settled with undisclosed payment

Ardis & Henry Morschladt

Settled with $19,998 payment

Anne Harrison Stone

Settled with undisclosed payment

Andre Vaillancourt

Judgment of $273,000 against Panahpour—not released by bankruptcy

Amy Starr Arbitration award of $471,975 against Panahpour

The Bauer complaint alleged:

The Bibb complaint stated:

The Filikyan complaint alleged:

In the Mansuryan case, the arbitrator concluded:

The McGreevy complaint alleged:

The Morschladt complaint alleged:

The Starr complaint alleged:

The Stone complaint alleged:

The Vaillancourt complaint alleged:

In many of these cases, the plaintiffs also stated that the "restorative" work Panahpour performed was substandard, caused them considerable pain, and required them to have extensive rehabilitative work elsewhere. Panahpour's book claims I was somehow responsible for the suits, even though I was not.

Disciplinary Actions

The database of the Dental Board of California states that Panahpour acquired his California dental license in 1994. In 2005, the board charged Panahpour with (a) negligently treating three teeth of a patient that needed restorations, (b) improperly double-billing an insurance company, and (c) using professional names other than the one under which he was licensed [13]. The case was settled by a stipulation in which he admitted to using unlicensed names and gave up the right to contest the other charges. The board assessed him $10,000 for the cost of its proceedings and ordered him to serve two years' probation, during which he was required to take remedial courses in oral diagnosis and treatment planning. He was also barred from practicing as Dr. Alexander Pana or Dr. Alex Pana unless he legally changes his name [14].

In 2009, Panahpour acquired a license to practice dentistry in the State of Washington, where most of his practice is now located. In 2018, the Washington Dental Quality Assurance Commission charged him with unprofessional conduct in his treatment of a patient. The board's complaint notes that (a) he performed four "cavitation" operations on a patient's upper and lower left jaw even though a panoramic x-ray showed no infection or other abnormal findings, and (b) during one of the operations, Panahpour injured a nerve in the jaw that caused the patient to have long-term numbness [15].

References

  1. Panahpour: The Systemic Dentist (home page), accessed June 19, 2018.
  2. Meet Dr. Panahpour. Dr. Alireza Panahpour Web site, accessed June 22, 2018.
  3. Panahpour A, Griggers C. The Good Dentist. Kindle Books, April 5, 2016.
  4. Barrett S. Some Notes on the bi-digital O-ring test and quantum reflex analysis. Quackwatch, Sept 10, 2017.
  5. Barrett S. Stay away from neural therapy. Quackwatch, March 13, 2015.
  6. Baratz RS. Key points about amalgam safety. Quackwatch, Sept 24, 2004.
  7. Dental amalgam and other restorative materials. Advisory opinion 5.A.1. In ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct. Revised April 2012.
  8. Barrett S. A critical look at cavitational osteopathosis, NICO, and "biological dentistry." Quackwatch, April 24, 2010.
  9. Barrett S. Homeopathy: The ultimate fake. Quackwatch, Aug 25, 2016.
  10. Statement of issues. Before the Dental Board of California, Case No. DBC 2004-38, Oct 25, 2004.
  11. Decision. In the matter of the application of Kamel Panahpour, D.D.S., Before the Dental Board of California, Case No. DBC 2004-38, Aug 31, 2005.
  12. Accusation. In the matter of the accusation against: Alireza Panahpour, D.D.S. Dental Board of California, March 18, 2005.
  13. Curriculum vitae: Alireza Panahpour, D.D.S. Downloaded from alirezapanahpour.com, June 22, 2018.
  14. Stipulated settlement and disciplinary order. In the matter of the accusation against: Alireza Panahpour, D.D.S. Dec 19, 2006.
  15. Statement of charges. In the matter of Alireza Panahpour. Washington Dental Quality Assurance Commission, May 1, 2018.

This article was posted on July 10, 2018.

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