Without insurance, getting braces typically costs about $5,000. A woman in the Detroit area, however, claims that she can put braces on top and bottom teeth for just $150 each. A report from investigative journalists in Detroit shows that the woman would tighten braces for $50, fix braces for about $20 and whiten teeth for $65.
Unfortunately, the woman advertising her services on Facebook doesn’t have the training or certification to work as a dentist. Michigan authorities are investigating the woman to determine whether she has broken the law.
The Dangers of Illegal Dentistry
The typical dentist spends four years in a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM) graduate program that covers a range of topics, including:
- Dental anatomy
- Oral microbiology
Studying these and other topics makes it possible for dentists to diagnose and solve dental problems in their patients. Before dentists can begin practicing, though, they must pass competitive examinations from the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE).
In other words, students require a lot of training before they’re allowed to work with patients.
Dentistry requires so much education because doctors need to know more than how to attach and tighten braces. A person who visits an illegal dentistry may:
- Lose teeth from having braces tightened too quickly
- Experience receding gum lines from inadequate treatment
- Receive inadequate care for solving dental problems
Perhaps even worse, uncertified dentists don’t know how to identify issues like oral cancer, tooth decay and gum disease.
Putting a Stop to Illegal Dentistry
Michigan authorities shut down the illegal dentistry as soon as they learned about the woman’s activities. Stopping illegal dentistry, however, isn’t always easy because people without the proper training and certification get customers by word of mouth. Some, like the woman in this case, use social media to attract customers who find the low prices appealing.
The Detroit area operation only ended because someone contacted a local news channel to complain.
Saving Money on Professional Dental Procedures
People who receive services from unlicensed “dentists” often do so because they want to save money. No dentist could compete with the $150 charged by someone without the right training.
The costs of braces and other dental services, however, don’t justify visiting an unlicensed person who could do more harm than good. Instead, patients can use DentalSave plans to access discounts of 25 to 50 percent. DentalSave may not lower the cost of braces to $150, but a plan does ensure that patients visit qualified dentists who provide a full range of dental services that treat and prevent ailments.