NewsContact7

Actions

Contact7 getting results: Disappearing dentist prompts offers of help from others

Posted: 9:38 PM, Oct 31, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-01 01:06:57-04
dentist exam_generic.png

Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at contact7@thedenverchannel.com or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here.

DENVER -- At Boulder Dental Designs, Dr. John Montoya takes his oath seriously.

"When we go to dental school and when we graduate, we take an oath," said Montoya. "Do no harm."

So when a patient recently came to him in pain, mid-treatment, saying her dentist had simple disappeared, he had to do something.

"If we can help in any way with these patients, we will," said Montoya, who is now offering free consults and affordable care for former patients of Dr. Douglas Sewell.

Contact7 first reported on Dr. Sewell last Thursday. His high-profile practice was recently named 5280's Top Dentist, so patients were in shock when they showed up for appointments and found a locked door and full voicemail.

"I’m really disappointed, but more than that, I'm in pain," said Jesika Joseph, who had not been able to reach Sewell and eventually found Dr. Montoya for treatment. "He has been amazing."

Contact7 has confirmed the Cherry Creek Family Dental office has moved out and closed, but the reason remains a mystery.

A family friend, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Denver7 that Sewell had been going through personal issues and had been "deteriorating." Sewell's reported attorney has not returned our calls.

It wasn't just patients left without their money.

"It wasn't until after we saw the story on Channel 7 where we kind of put it all together," said Bridget Italiano, with Professional Dental Ceramics out of Wheat Ridge. The company has been making crowns and bridges for Dr. Sewell for months, and Italiano said Sewell owes them thousands for crowns some patients never saw.

The company is now offering to give patients who never got their pre-paid crowns or bridges free replacements.

"We’re in a position where we can help, so why not?" she said. "It's unbelievable someone would just up and leave like that and charge these poor patients and leave them high and dry."

Meanwhile, the Colorado Dental Board has "no previous disciplinary actions" reported against Sewell, but could not confirm whether he is currently under investigation.