A mom in Virginia says a dentist subdued her screaming daughter during a root canal not with calming words or sedatives but with a much more physical approach: clamping his hand on the 9-year-old’s mouth and ordering her to stop crying. Tracy Sikes told local station ABC 8, “When I hear that an adult man has put his hand over my daughter’s mouth when she is in pain and upset, of course, that brings out the mamma bear.” Sikes learned that the dentist, Dr. Steven Lubbe, who has been accused of using excessive force on a pediatric patient before, also had his assistants restrain her daughter Emily’s arms during the procedure. Sikes and her child had visited Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics of Virginia in Chesterfield to have a cap placed on one of Emily’s molars. The mom has filed a complaint with the state’s Department of Health Professions. The technique has a descriptive clinical name: “hand over mouth,” and dentists in several states, Virginia included, still consider it an acceptable maneuver, though the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry does not.
The dentist’s office released a statement: “Patient privacy laws do not allow us to comment on any specific situation, but our pediatric patients are offered a variety of calming options. If a patient were to become upset, we immediately stop the cleaning or procedure.”