WAUKESHA (WITI) -- A Waukesha woman has been charged with child abuse and could face prison time for practicing dentistry without a license. Police say she was putting braces on children, using her living room as an office.
Authorities say one adult has permanent dental damage, and a 13-year-old suffered from pain, swelling and bleeding after receiving braces from 36-year-old Noemi Aguilera.
Aguilera told police she was seeing as many as 10 patients a day in her home.
Waukesha orthodontist Kirk Davies says an unlicensed dentist can cause severe, and sometimes irreversible, damage.
"My biggest concern would be for the patient," said Davies. "What you'll first start with is bleeding gums, puffy gums, uncomfortable pain for the patient."
Such symptoms led the mother of Aguilera's 13-year-old patient to take him to a licensed clinic for an exam. That dentist told police the boy had cement underneath his gums.
An undercover officer made and appointment with Aguilera, pretending to have a daughter in need of braces. A criminal complaint says Aguilera told him the overall cost "would come to approximately $900, compared to the $5,000 or $6,000 that one would pay if going to a dentist."
The officer says Aguilera admitted she did not have a license, but had worked as a dental assistant. The officer says she claimed to have been doing the work for six months, and used disinfectant soap to sterilize her equipment.
Davies says every dentist needs a heat sterilizing machine.
"It kills everything so you can't pass disease from one patient to the other and that's what's done in a dental office," said Davies.
Police found 14 different casts of people's teeth during a search of Aguilera's home, each with a name written on the back -- and a calendar book with 281 appointments.
Aguilera is charged with physical abuse of a child and practicing dentistry without a license.