Dentist Fills Dozens of Phantom Cavities

Mark McDougal, Larry Rothman, and Greg Kafoury

Larry Rothman responded to an ad in the Willamette Week for a “holistic” dentist. Rothman was having some minor discomfort, and simply wanted to get his teeth checked. Dr. Azadeh Kahjavi took a wand and moved it around inside Rothman’s mouth. Each time it beeped she declared that she had found a new cavity.

Rothman had not seen a dentist in some time, but he had never had a cavity in his life. Neither did he have one then. Nonetheless, Dr. Kahjavi diagnosed some 22 cavities, and did a massive amount of work on the luckless Mr. Rothman. She also did a root canal, which failed and led to an infection and eventual extraction, a crown which fell out within a few months, and, for some murky reason, she filed down several of his teeth.

Many of the filings were cracked, later broke, or developed holes. We filed suit for malpractice. At deposition, Dr. Kahjavi tried to explain that what she had been repairing were not cavities but fractures in the teeth. When asked why her records indicated no fractures, but 22 cavities, she explained, “Well, you wouldn’t want to just write fractures all over the place.”

We requested compensatory and punitive damages. The case settled for an undisclosed amount on the eve of trial.