Sham Dentists Arrested for Performing Unlicensed Root Canals

Illustration for article titled Sham Dentists Arrested for Performing Unlicensed Root Canals

In the pantheon of worst human word combinations, I think that "fake dentist performs DIY root canal" is pretty much Zeus. In a horrific story out of Bryn Mawr, PA, a pair of unlicensed dental clinic employees (one of whom had no medical training whatsoever) have been moonlighting as bargain basement back-alley night-dentists—administering anesthesia, fitting braces, pulling teeth, and performing the aforementioned root canals of doom. Like, good prank, guys! Nothing like a little preying-on-the-desperate-and-uninsured to rustle up some quality yuks. Ugh.

Don't worry, it gets worse!

[Cheryl] Laing worked as a dental assistant, and [Jennifer] Gullickson was a receptionist, at Smilz 4 Life - a legitimate practice owned by a licensed dentist - during the day, Ferman said.

After business hours, Ferman said, Laing presented herself as a licensed dentist (with Gullickson as her assistant), advertising by word of mouth that she could treat uninsured patients at dramatically lower prices, Ferman said.

They accepted only cash and kept no records. They also didn't take patient histories or check to see if patients had drug allergies. They took X-rays, injected numbing drugs, performed root canals, put on braces and extracted teeth, Ferman said.

One patient told investigators he endured excruciating pain for 45 minutes while Laing pulled his tooth, and another said that Laing left the room during her root canal, urging the untrained Gullickson to "find the root."


First of all, just to be perfectly clear, "Smilz 4 Life" is the legitimate dental clinic that the fake dentists worked at during the day. That's the real one. Where the actual adult tooth-doctor works. Smilz 4 Life. Just to clarify.

Second of all, FIND THE ROOT. FIND IT. FIND THE ROOT. UUUUUUUUUUGH. Everything about this is the worst.

Cops: Unlicensed duo posed as dentists, did root canals

Photo credit: IS2 / Stockfresh.

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Just because there are a lot of dental horror stories in this thread, I want to chime in with my recent root canal story: I got a recommendation for an accredited dentist. Everything went fine and I barely felt a thing. Root canals do not have to be the worst thing a human can experience. Please don't freak out, dental-phobic Jezzies!