Ex-Dentist Pleads Guilty to Using Paper Clips in Root Canals

Prosecutors say he billed Medicaid for surgical stainless steel, used paper clips and kept the difference.

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    Open up wide for -- beer? A local dentist is serving up beer and wine with a smile.

    An ex-dentist admitted to cheating Medicaid by using paper clips in root canals in place of more expensive surgical stainless steel.

    Michael Clair, who practiced in Massachusetts, pleaded guilty last week to a slew of charges including assault and battery, larceny, illegally prescribing prescription drugs, witness intimidation and defrauding Medicaid out of $130,000.

    Prosecutors said the 53-year-old billed Medicaid for stainless steel posts, but used cheap paper clips in root canals to make extra money. The flimsy metal put patients at risk of infection and pain.

    Clair, who now lives in Maryland, was suspended by Medicaid in 2002, but continued to file claims through June 2005 by using other names, according to prosecutors.

    He is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 30 in New Bedford Superior Court.