Former patients learn about Austin dentist’s voluntary surrender of license

Former patients learn about Austin dentist’s voluntary surrender of license

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(ABC 6 News) – People across the Austin-area are learning some shocking news about a former dentist in town.

Over the last two weeks, former patients of Schmitt Family Dentistry learned that, back in June of 2023, practitioner Travis Schmitt had voluntary surrendered his license to the Minnesota Board of Dentistry.

For some former patients of Schmitt, the news didn’t come as much of a shock, including Michelle Buxton. Buxton contacted the Board of Dentistry with complaints about Schmitt following 11 years under his care, and spending a few of those years as a part-time clerk at his office.

For most of her life, Buxton’s oral health wasn’t too much of a concern. In 2009, she moved to Austin and began seeing Travis Schmitt as her dentist and worked in his office as a clerk She says her bi-annual cleanings took no time at all.

“[They] were very quick, ten-minute visits,” said Buxton.

Then after an appointment in October of 2020, everything changed.

“The demeanor changed, everything was just different. I had asked him at that point are my teeth supposed to be loose? And his response was basically that I grind my teeth, when you grind your teeth, they become loose. It was kind of a roundabout response,” Buxton said.

But she wasn’t alone in her concerns.

Jacob Schlichter grew up going to Schmitt’s office for dentistry as a kid. Once he was out on his own, he went to other dentists and the problems with his teeth became more apparent.

“Fillings coming out, or chipping very easily,” said Schlichter. “And then almost all of the work would get infected easily and I compare that to the work of dentists I have seen recently where ,several years later, their work is still fine.”

Buxton, too, had a much better experience going to a new dentist but discovered troubling news about her oral health.

“It was a whole different experience. I was in there for an hour and a half. I was told I had such an advance case of periodontal disease that it was so far to the point where I had so much bone loss, that they have to come out.”

The 2022 reported Buxton provided to the Minnesota Board of Dentistry got information alleged Schmitt was engaging in “substandard practice” and “inadequate infection control.”

Schmitt did not admit to the claims, but agreed to voluntarily surrender his license.

“You have the public’s trust, and I think you owe it to the citizens of your community to do your best work. And if you’re not doing that, maybe just find a different career.” said Schlichter.

Following a post in an Austin Community Facebook page by a former patient of Schmitt’s, more former patients spoke up on bad experiences they had from him. Now Buxton and Schlichter have connected with over 400 former patients of Schmitt over Facebook, sharing their experiences and asking for more accountability.

“There’s a lot of people affected and it’s not just our teeth, it’s our health,” Buxton said.

“It kind of paints a little bit more of a serious story about just improper practices and various allegations that have come out. Whether or not that it’s true, I guess we might never find that out,” Schlichter added.

ABC 6 News did reach out to Schmitt for comment on this story but received no response from him.