OKLAHOMA CITY– Authorities in Oklahoma City say they are on the hunt for a woman who claims to be a dentist, but is actually performing illegal dental procedures on dozens of unsuspecting patients.
Victims say Elizabeth Hinosa earned their trust and lured them into her office with the promise of a less expensive dental bill.
Investigators say she performed a variety of procedures and used chemicals including sedation and numbing medication with no training.
Susan Rogers, Executive Director with the Oklahoma Board of Dentistry, said, “Hinosa worked at two different offices hired as a Spanish translator and dental assistant. A few years later, she decided to treat patients herself, after hours when the real doctors went home.”
Authorities have received pictures of the work Hinosa performed, including a root canal that was filled with cotton and braces falling off the patient’s teeth.
That patient claimed ‘Dr. Liz’ told her to use chewing gum until she could cough up more cash.
Officials say Hinosa wasn’t alone in the scheme; police say she had a trusted side kick in her daughter, Monica Orozco.
Rogers said, “She got her daughter hired as the receptionist and when people would call in to make an appointment, they would schedule them at a different time and tell them it’s cheaper if they come after hours.”
Investigators allege the pair even forwarded calls from the office to their personal cell phones.
Rogers believes there are about 100 victims; some could have communicable diseases as a result of the treatment.
She said, “We are very concerned about some of the victims. Out of all the people we interviewed, at least half of them had some sort of infection or problem related to their dental procedure that was done by her.”
James Creely said some of the alleged victims will have permanent damage.
He said, “One child lost four of their front teeth. When people come in to a real dentist, they are physically hurt, they are emotionally stressed and they have dental work that’s going to have to be repaired.”
Police say Hinosa is already facing at least 22 counts of medical battery. As detectives moved in, they believe Hinosa disappeared and took patients’ files with her.
The board is working to get volunteer dentists to fix the victims’ problems at a discounted rate or for free.
Investigators believe some patients are afraid to come forward because they are concerned about their legal status.
However, officials say their goal is just to find Hinosa.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call the authorities.