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Newport Beach celebrity dentist surrenders her license after complaints of negligence and fraud

A Newport Beach celebrity dentist who was barred from treating patients this month has relinquished her license to practice dentistry, state documents show.

The Dental Board of California suspended Sherri Worth's license Feb. 3, pending a disciplinary hearing.

But Worth, whose work was featured on the former Fox reality TV makeover show "The Swan," surrendered her license effective Friday, according to state documents.

The state dental board had filed a complaint against Worth on Feb. 1 based on allegations by six patients that she committed repeated acts of negligence, fraud, incompetence, overdiagnosis and excessive treatment. The patients were not identified by name in state documents.

Winter Peterson, a former patient, and her husband, Greyson, filed a lawsuit Thursday in Orange County Superior Court against Worth alleging negligence and fraud.

Worth's attorney declined to comment Tuesday through a receptionist who answered the phone at his law office.

Peterson was Worth's patient from October 2016 to January 2017 during which time Worth replaced a bridge and veneers and added other veneers and crowns.

The lawsuit alleges that the dental work was ill-fitting, and Worth ground Peterson's teeth with a dry drill, resulting in her needing root canals on otherwise healthy teeth.

The dental work gave Peterson an improper bite that led to headaches and intense jaw pain, according to court papers.

One of Peterson's attorneys, Dr. Edwin Zinman, a San Francisco lawyer and dentist, said the 28-year-old paid Worth about $39,000 for dental work. Zinman estimates that Peterson will spend more than $32,000 to repair her teeth.

Worth has been licensed as a dentist in California since May 1995. Her website, which has been taken down, previously featured testimonials from Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, actress Anna Kendrick and other stars.

"On her website, she talked about how she's the doctor of the perfect smile," Zinman said. "She's told patients she's the greatest dentist in the world. She's definitely self-praising."

Zinman also represented another former patient of Worth's, who successfully sued the dentist in 2010 for botching $46,000 worth of work, according to court documents.

The woman, who saw Worth in 2009 in hopes of fixing a "gummy smile," said she experienced intolerable pain after Worth put crowns or porcelain veneers on 22 of the patient's teeth.

According to a complaint the dental board filed in 2015, many of the fixtures were ill-fitted, and in some cases, Worth removed solid dental work to attach them.

According to the complaint, Worth improperly shaved off portions of the woman's gums with a laser, enabling food and bacteria to lodge around her teeth.

"[Worth] observed the horrible gingivitis in the areas she treated with laser surgery, and the perfectly healthy gum tissue in the rest of the mouth, and inexplicably continued to insist the patient's oral hygiene was the problem," the complaint states.

Worth's case caught the dental board's attention in 2012, when a malpractice insurer notified the agency that it had paid $641,441 in a judgment to the patient.

According to the dental board complaint, Worth charged two patients more than $5,000 each for laser gum surgery she didn't perform, digitally altered X-rays to cover up problems she caused and performed expensive and unnecessary restorations on healthy teeth.

The dental board also accused Worth of altering or hiding patient records.

The complaint states that by improperly placing restorations on teeth, she demonstrated "a gross lack of clinical skill and diagnostic ability."

Worth could reapply for her license in three years, but would have to pay $93,600 to the dental board for the cost of their investigation.

hannah.fry@latimes.com

Twitter: @HannahFryTCN

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