OKLAHOMA CITY — Authorities are searching for a phony dentist; a woman they said illegally performed everything from root canals to fillings, even putting on braces.
The Oklahoma Board Of Dentistry said Elizabeth Hinosa worked on patients after hours at metro dentist offices.
Hinosa was hired by two Oklahoma City dentists to be an assistant and spanish translator at The Dental Spa on 1211 S.E. 44th St. and 3315 N.W. 63rd St.
Many patients couldn’t speak english and those dentists couldn’t speak spanish.
So they often never saw these victims because Hinosa’s daughter set up those after-hours appointments as the receptionist.
“I thought she was a doctor or a dentist. I didn’t know,” victim Carroll Jarrett said Tuesday.
He believed Hinosa, a.k.a. “Dr. Liz,” when she said she was a dentist.
He paid her more than $6,000 to restructure his front teeth and get his daughter braces.
But his experience was anything but professional.
“She had stuck me in my gums (with a needle) and it felt like my face was on fire,” Jarrett said. “I kind of grabbed her by the arm and told her, ‘stop, that’s enough.’ She said, ‘Oh it will go away in a minute.'”
When his teeth fell out, Jarrett soon found out she had no dental training and had quit her job.
“You just can’t do people like that and get away with it. That’s just not right,” he said.
“She was a very good scam artist,” Board Of Dentistry Executive Director Susan Rogers said. “With her and her daughter taking all of the phone calls at the office, if there was a problem, they would just simply take care of it.”
Rogers said Hinosa once filled a root canal with cotton.
On another patient, she recommended using chewing gum to cover faulty braces she put on, until the patient could come up with more cash.
“She was charging more than the real dentist was on a lot of procedures, which is sickening,” Rogers said.
The scheme of Hinosa and her daughter, Monica Orozco, was to forward phone calls to their cell phones and promise patients discounted services if they came back after the office was closed or at an alternate location.
Rogers said the two dentists they worked for had no idea what was happening for two years until patients, like Jarrett, started coming forward.
“She put my kid’s safety at risk and that’s not right,” Jarrett said. “No kid should have to go through something like that.”
Hinosa’s family told authorities she may be hiding now in San Antonio.
Several victims have had infections and need to be tested for diseases caused by potentially shared needles.
Hinosa is facing five felony charges, including practicing dentistry without a license.
The dental board is trying to get volunteer dentists to repair the victims’ damage at a reduced cost.
Rogers said many of the hispanic victims are afraid to come forward because of immigration issues.
However, Rogers said they’re only trying to help them.
The general public is urged to call the Oklahoma Board Of Dentistry if they want to make sure their dentist is licensed.