Colorado officials allow unlicensed dentist to practice with unsterilized instruments: 7 details

Dentists

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After receiving complaints that Maria Alvarez practiced as an unlicensed dentist, the Colorado Dental Board and Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies were late to take action, according to Weny News.

Here are seven details:

1. The Colorado DORA first became aware of Ms. Alvarez's practices after former employees filed a complaint to the Colorado Dental Board. The complaint indicated Ms. Alvarez was treating patients by drilling teeth, administering anesthetic shots and extracting teeth while not being licensed to do so.

2. The complaint also informed the board the instruments being used on patients were not properly sterilized. The Colorado Dental Board then referred the complaint to the DORA, which took five months to visit Ms. Alvarez's practice.

3. During the inspection, Ms. Alvarez denied she was extracting teeth or administering anesthesia. She informed investigators she was licensed as a dental assistant. The licensed dentist on staff told investigators Ms. Alvarez was not performing dentistry out of her scope of practice.

4. Ms. Alvarez was then served with an 18-question follow-up letter. However, she had closed the practice in the month following the inspection. Her attorney argued since the practice was closed, Ms. Alvarez did not need to respond to the questions.

5. However, records show Ms. Alvarez's practice remained open for eight months after the former employees initially complained. In October 2016, Colorado officials issued a cease-and-desist order to Mr. Alvarez. The Colorado Dental Board also issued a letter to the licensed dentist on staff at the time for aiding Ms. Alvarez.

6. A nearby dentist, Benjamin Menlove, DDS, employed many of Ms. Alverez's former employees. Additionally, he noted he has treated many of her former patients due to inadequate extractions and broken roots.

7. After this incident, Colorado officials began working on policies to reduce the number of unlicensed professionals treating patients.

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