BUCKEYE (3TV/CBS5) -- A man and woman in Buckeye have been arrested for allegedly operating a fake dentist's office out of a home.

Nadieza Tzitziki Vidales-Pulido, 33, and German Alexander Romero-Valdez, 35, each face one felony charge of practicing unlicensed dentistry. 

In October 2018, someone alerted authorities that a group of people was practicing unlicensed dentistry at a home in Buckeye. The suspects were not only cleaning teeth but doing extractions, police say.

The reporting party, called a "confidential informant" in the police report, also said that the unlicensed "dentists" were catering to people who were in the country illegally and who didn't have insurance.

The confidential informant also sent police a video of people with young children waiting "in what appears to be a living room in a house," according to the police report. "They were sitting in a manner as if they were at a doctor's office. The living room was empty of residential furniture and had the appearance of a doctor's office setting."

On Feb. 6, authorities told the confidential informant, to contact the unlicensed dentists and "make an appointment for a dental cleaning and exam."

The next day, the informant showed up for her "appointment," while wearing an audio and video recorder. The informant was met by a Hispanic female and led to a back room in the house for an "exam."

According to the police report, "the equipment appeared unkempt, dilapidated and dirty."

[WATCH: Risks of seeing an unlicensed dentist not worth cost savings]

The suspect told the informant that she could remove a bad tooth for $200 or could do "a set of crowns for the teeth for $2,000," according to the police report. Police also say that the suspect later said she would be able to use anesthesia for the extraction and provide medication to help with the pain after."

Vidales-Pulido later told police that the "business is being used to create dentures, fill in cavities, clean teeth and extract teeth," according to the police report.

Vidales-Pulido also said that Romero-Valdez was "aware of everything occurring at the residence."

But Romero Valdez later stated to police that "he did not know that his business was in violation of state law" and that "he did not know extractions were occurring on his premises," according to the police report.

He did admit to "cleaning teeth at the residence" according to the police report.

Meanwhile, neighbors say they suspected something fishy was going on in the house. 

"I thought it was maybe a drug dealer's house," said neighbor Austin Maldonado. "Probably every day there would be some new car out there."

Another neighbor, who wanted to remain anonymous, said Romero-Valdez told her that he was making dentures at the house. 

"But he never said that they were doing anything other than that," she said. 

The Mesa Police Department and Homeland Security Office were involved in the investigation.

"It's a public safety issue, clearly there are very serious consideration. There could be the spread of blood-borne pathogens. You could be getting hepatitis or HIV or any of those things if equipment is not properly sterilized," said Kevin Earle, executive director of the Arizona Dental Association.

He says without a license, any equipment and anesthesia would have been purchased off the black market.

And the risks for error and injury are astronomical.

"When you're pulling out a tooth and you don't have the benefit of an x-ray, you could find there's an artery crossing the roots and you could end up with an arterial bleed," said Earle.

Earle admits, quality dental work is expensive, and for those without insurance, there are very few low cost options.

'We have a relatively weak safety net here in Arizona. And for that reason we've worked hard over the last several years to get better dental coverage under the ACCESS program," he said.

Right now, children under 21 and expectant mothers have the most access to subsidized dental care.

Until a larger expansion happens, Earle's advice to everyone is "Unless you see a license on the wall, turn around and walk out the door."

 


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