Dentist faces battery charges for ripping cap from patient
An Oak Lawn dentist is facing two counts of misdemeanor battery for allegedly ripping a tooth cap out of a female patient's mouth because he thought she owed him money, police reports say.
Dr. Leon Gombis, 64, of Palos Heights is accused of holding down the woman, a Homewood resident, to forcibly remove a permanent cap from her mouth Dec. 16.
Oak Lawn police officially filed charges Friday against Gombis.
Gombis, moments after implanting the cap, misread his account records and thought the woman, who is 58, owed him $200 for previous dental work, the report states.
Gombis then reached back into the woman's mouth with pliers and yanked out the cap, she said.
After an assistant told Gombis that the woman was paid up, the dentist forced the cap back into his patient's mouth and stormed out of the room, the police report says.
The woman said she was bleeding so much she spent the evening in a hospital emergency room after reporting the incident at the Oak Lawn police station.
Gombis, who practices out of the Oak Lawn Dental Lab office at 9101 Cicero Ave., has held an Illinois dental license for more than 40 years, records show. He has never had any disciplinary action against him.
Reached at his home, Gombis said police told him the charges likely would be dismissed.
"There's nothing to talk about," he said. "It's a non-incident. It's just nothing."
Oak Lawn Division Chief Mike Spellman said he doubted any police officer told Gombis the charges would be dropped.
"We can't file charges unless we think there's probable cause a crime was committed," he said.
The woman and her husband said they had been willing to drop the charges if Gombis' dental office had written them a letter of apology.
The woman said her mouth still hurt too much to talk for a long period of time.
Gombis is active in local and national Christian missionary communities.
He teaches adult religion classes at the Grace Fellowship Church in Oak Forest. He also sits on the boards of directors for Project MedSend, which helps send health care workers to needy countries, and SIM USA, which sends Christian missionaries to Africa, Asia and South America.
If a state review board thinks the charges against Gombis have merit, the dentist could have his license suspended or put on probation, said Neal Draznin, dental prosecutor for the Illinois Department of Public Regulation.
"I can't think of a case I've seen where a dentist pulled work from a patient's mouth because they thought the work wasn't paid for," said Draznin, who has overseen more than 200 disciplinary cases against dentists since 2000.
Chicago Star Article