In January of this year a man in Plano, Texas, by the name of Jose Delao was arrested for running an unlicensed dental practice out of his home. He had been running the practice for several years undetected, and was only caught because a patient whom he had caused physical harm to had reported him to the police.
The majority of Delao’s clients were lower-income, did not have insurance, and/ or were undocumented immigrants. His prices for procedures were significantly lower than those charged by licensed dentists. While the number or rogue dental practices around the United States is unknown, this type of practice–one that caters to those who could not otherwise afford dental care–is not uncommon, especially in communities with a large number of undocumented immigrants.
Regardless of their financial situation, no one should ever be treated by an unlicensed dentist. The medical risks outweigh any sort of financial benefit gained from lower costs. Dr. Frank Catalanotto, chair of the Department of Community Dentistry at the University of Florida said this about the risks involved with being treated by an unlicensed dentist: “You’re doing something potentially very dangerous to your health. You would probably have concerns about infection control issues and catching a communicable disease from unclean instruments. There’s a variety of concerns.”
Delao claimed that his practice was truly for altruistic purposes–he only treated those who felt that they had nowhere else to go. If you are in need of dental care and cannot afford it, there are multiple avenues to pursue that do not involve seeing an unlicensed dentist. Dental schools provide services at a discounted rate, and you can contribute to the training of future dentists. Most reputable dental practices, including Gallardo & Lamas, provide flexible financing options for those who cannot pay the full amount immediately.
Gallardo & Lamas Periodontics and Implant Dentistry is located in Miami, Florida. Please call for a consultation to discuss your dental health and payment options: (305) 447-1447.