AUGUSTA — At a hearing where a Lewiston oral surgeon is fighting to keep his license in the face of allegations of incompetence and a lack of professionalism, Dr. Jan Kippax said Friday he’s no longer allowed to treat patients on MaineCare.

During six hours on the stand, Kippax said that because about half of his patients rely on MaineCare to pay for dental work, the move is making it difficult for him to stay in business.

“My numbers have gone way, way down,” he told five members of the Maine Board of Dental Practice on Friday.

He said that given the charges levied against him and the publicity about them, it is difficult to continue his Main Street practice.

Almost two years after the first of a handful of complaints lodged against him, Kippax testified at a hearing that may force him out of the profession entirely.

It marked the third day of testimony in the ongoing administrative trial by the dental board members who are weighing the testimony of patients, experts and Kippax. It will continue Saturday when expert witnesses are expected to weigh in.


During the first two days of testimony in September, five of Kippax’s former patients detailed experiences with him that left them so shaken they reported his actions to the dental board for possible sanction.

They alleged that Kippax had failed to control their pain, allowed bleeding to go untreated, restrained them improperly and refused to stop extractions when they pleaded with him to cease.

Kippax strongly denied he’d done anything improper and two of his assistants, including one who worked at his side on all five cases, backed him up Friday. Each of the aides said the testimony of the five former patients was off the mark.

One patient who had eight teeth pulled, Joshua Robbins, said he woke up to find Kippax holding him down as he yelled and pleaded for the dentist to stop.

But Mindy LeMont, who was in the room to keep an eye on his breathing, said Robbins didn’t stir until the procedure was finished. Only after Kippax left the room, she said, did Robbins begin waking up.

“He was very agitated. He was yelling,” LeMont said, and she felt so frightened that she tried to melt back into the wall to escape his attention.


Kippax said part of the problem he faced is that he was willing to take low-income, sometimes troubled patients, about a quarter of whom were current or former drug addicts. They don’t always react well to the drugs required to sedate them, he said.

They “act out and see things” sometimes, he said. “These people have serious issues that are behind the drugs.”

“These people have a real set of baggage that’s going on in their brains and you don’t know how they’re going to react,” he said. “These are difficult, combative patients.”

Kippax suggested that some of his accusers were upset because he wouldn’t give them addictive drugs that are much sought-after on the streets. He said he took great care to try to balance the desire to combat pain with the responsibility he felt to keep opioids out of the hands of people who might abuse them.

At one point, attorney James Belleau, who represents Kippax, raised questions about a March 2016 inspection report by an investigator for the board, Dr. David Moyer.

Moyer apparently included some positive remarks about Kippax and his office in the report that were subsequently edited out of a final version passed on by the board’s executive director, Penny Vaillancourt.


“I don’t know why she would do that and it’s concerning,” Kippax said.

Vaillancourt has said she can’t talk about anything related to the case. The exhibits shown to board members, including the report, have not made been made available despite a Freedom of Access Act request from the Sun Journal weeks ago.

The board has the power to censure or fine Kippax or to pull his license to practice. Last winter, it agreed to suspend him temporarily pending the outcome of the hearing but didn’t move ahead on the proceedings until long after the 30-day suspension expired.

Kippax began to practice again last summer and is fighting to preserve both his license and his reputation. He is also licensed to practice in Massachusetts and Vermont.

Dr. Jan Kippax, left, testifies at the Maine Board of Dental Practice on Friday. Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Bolton, right, questioned him about his treatment of former patients who have accused him of mistreating them. Assistant Attorney General James Bowie sits between them. (Steve Collins/Sun Journal)

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