Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Why do People Run Into Fake Dentists?

Since December 2012, several incidents of fake dentists have been doing the rounds on the World Wide Web. While some of these cases are bizarre, some are downright egregious. Take the instance reported by in December where 40-year old William Escobar was arrested by investigators in Moorpark, California, after a month-long search that revealed how the self proclaimed dentist performed tooth cleanings and injected his patients with anesthetics – all inside his apartment’s bathroom!

The Philadelphia Daily News too reported a case of imposter dentists in December, where two women (one was Cheryl Laing who had a job as a dental assistant, and another was a receptionist called Jessica Gullickson) were arrested for running a fraud and performing dental work after-hours at the clinic of a local dentist.

Yet another shocking case was reported by NBCUniversal, where the Plano police arrested 63-year old Jose Santiago Delao, who was charged with practicing dentistry with no valid license.

All these cases bring an important question to the forefront – why do people run into fake dentists? The answer lies in the tough economy. In today’s world where healthcare costs are skyrocketing, seeking a professional dentist has become a costly affair that many can’t afford. Even those who can often look for cheaper alternatives, thinking about a dozens of things they can do with the money thus saved. No wonder that self proclaimed dentists, most of whom aren’t qualified and trained, and don’t have a license to practice, crop up to take advantage of the situation, luring patients with the bait of a low cost dental service.

Apart from men and women looking to save a few bucks, school students and college goers are also easy targets for such imposters. After all, these teenagers are often looking to save on their pocket money and won’t mind visiting fake dentists to get the job done, saving precious dollars in the process. Of course, they aren’t worried about botched jobs, or injuries, which may make them pay much more in the long run.

After reading this, if you think that everyone goes to a fake dentist knowing fully well what they are walking into, think again. Most of these imposters are so good in their homework that you may not often know their game unless you ask to see their license or cross check it with the State Board of Dental Examiners. But the sad truth is that hardly anyone bothers to go to such lengths and verify the credentials. The job of the fake dentist is made easier if s/he already has some successful cases to showcase his/her talents. People will naturally walk into the clinics of such fake dentists who can boast of a few successes and drum up publicity for the same.

Though it may sound bizarre, there’s another group of people who simply visit fake dentists to get a legit (they think!) doctor’s certificate and enjoy a few day’s sick leave from work or school/college. After all, when you are not ill and can’t think of any legitimate reason to visit your doctor, the next best thing is to go to a fake dentist, isn’t it?

But all these shouldn’t make you forget about the dangers you inflict upon yourself by walking into a fake dentist’s clinic. Though special offers and discounts, as well as cheap dental services may be too tempting, you should always check credentials of the dentist before trusting the person. After all, what if you have to undergo excruciating pain while the novice hands tug at your broken tooth, or worse still, administers some medicine to which you are allergic? Surely, it pays to shell out more and buy peace of mind by trusting a renowned and expert dentist than saving a few dollars and ending up in a period of perpetual anxiety, pain, and costly treatments to fix the damage that your ‘fake dentist’ has done.

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