Cops Arrest Woman for Alleged Garage Dentistry

O'Brien said the pills can range from old pain pills to a family member's leftover antibiotics -- all taken by people who are willing to risk problems instead of seeing their doctors.

"The antibiotics thing I see all the time," he said.

The police report did not specifically list antibiotics as one of the medications officers say they found in Toledo's garage. The report does list finding lidocaine, "suspected chloroform" and Novocain in the garage.

Neumann said licensing requirements for immigrant dentists are controlled by each state's dental board and, in the past 15 years, the rules have changed with many states becoming more stringent.

"We have a huge volume on inquiries of international dentists," Neumann said. "It's pretty common knowledge of what it takes [to become a dentist] in general. This is not a secret."

Florida requires an immigrant dentist to "complete educational programs, which are offered at both Florida dental schools and some specialty residency programs and sit for the Florida licensure exam," according to the Florida Dental Association's spokeswoman Niki Pocock.

"The Florida Dental Association fully supports the Department of Health's efforts to prosecute unlicensed activity," Pocock said.

Neumann of the ADA said most states require the immigrant dentist to retake the last one to two years of a U.S. accredited four-year dental school. Then, many have to complete the written and clinical (meaning working on patients) exam.

But differences between states abound.

Long Road for Dentists Immigrating to the U.S.

"Usually, it's the last two years of dental school. But it can range anywhere from one to three," Neumann said.

In previous years, she said, some states ran into trouble with licensing. California, Neumann said, used to allow immigrant dentists to take a written test, with multiple tries before passing, and then go straight to the clinical test -- which means working on real patients.

"The California Board of Dentistry that was administering these exams saw some patients were being harmed," she said. As a result, California moved to a test on mannequins first.

Neumann said Minnesota, too, had its share of problems years ago when it was just required that some immigrant dentists submit their "foreign credentials" to start treating people.

"But it's really hard to evaluate foreign credentials and they started getting complaints from the public about substandard care," Neumann said.

"There's a lot of pressure on the government. They [immigrant dentists] go to the government and say, 'Hey, you know I'm driving a taxi and there are people here who speak my language who need my care,'" she said.

"It just got to be so cumbersome -- on average, the [three-year class requirement] is the best system that's been found so far for protecting the public."

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