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2 Investigators: Unlicensed Dental Work Costs Family Money, Tooth

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Galindo Dental Laboratory. (Credit: CBS)

Galindo Dental Laboratory. (Credit: CBS)

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Award-winning Chicago journalist Dave Savini serves as investigative...
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(CBS) — A trip to the dentist was disastrous for one local family. After losing money and a tooth, They went on a mission to expose what they call a sham operation. CBS 2’s Dave Savini has our original report.

Fifteen-year-old Cesar Jimenez says he is reminded of the pain he endured at Galindo Dental Laboratory, in Lombard, every time he looks in the mirror.

“I started crying,” said Jimenez recalling a dental procedure he said was painful.

His adult canine tooth was mistakenly extracted leaving a gaping hole in the upper left gum line. The CBS 2-Investigators went to the lab and found the person who reportedly pulled the tooth was not a licensed dentist nor is the owner, Salvador Galindo.

Galindo allegedly had people handing out business cards, promoting dentistry work like orthodontics. Patricia Jimenez, Cesar’s mother, says she received one of those cards and a separate referral and thought the place was licensed to do dental work.

“I don’t know,” said Patricia Jimenez upset about what happened to her son. “I just feel really sad.”

Patricia Jimenez took her son to Galindo’s business to get braces. She says she made her first payment of more than a $1,000.

Galindo admitted he is not a licensed dentists and he first tried denying knowing anything about the Jimenez case. Galindo said they just make dentures and crowns for real dentists.

“That’s all I can tell you!” said Galindo who said he knew nothing about unlicensed dental work in his office.

Galindo did not realize, Patricia Jimenez had cell phone video of him, and two other women from his office, recorded when she went there to complain. Galindo can be heard in the video and we translated the Spanish.

“What I want is that you don’t get us in trouble,” said Galindo.

Also on the video, the woman Jimenez says pulled the tooth.

“I just wanted to issue you my apology and tell you that it was a mistake on my part,” said the woman. “Never in my life has this happened before.”

Galindo says this woman is his friend and not a dentist. He could not answer why she would have pulled a tooth, “I don’t know.”

After seeing it had all been caught on camera, Galindo changed his story and said the tooth pulling probably did happen in his office. After that, a staff member asked the CBS crew to leave and even dropped his pants to moon the camera.

“I think they should shut down their laboratory,” said Cesar Jimenez. “And be sent to prison.”

The teen now needs an implant and has gone to another dentist for braces. His mother says the $1,000 she paid was never returned. After interviewing Galindo, CBS 2 learned he had been arrested a week earlier on charges related to unlicensed dentistry. Police say there likely are numerous victims and they are looking for the woman who reportedly pulled the tooth. CBS 2 also could not reach her.