Three people are in custody after authorities discovered a clandestine dental office in their Little Havana home, police said Wednesday. Claribel Altamonte spoke about the dental treatment her daughter was given by Humberto Perez.
An elderly man, his wife and daughter are in custody after authorities discovered a clandestine dental office in their Little Havana home, police said Wednesday.
The operation was discovered in the 1000 block of Southwest 11th Street, Miami Police spokeswoman Kenia Reyes said.
Humberto Perez, 81, 69-year-old Maria Perez and 38-year-old Odalis Hernandez Perez were arrested at the home, police said.
Police said they learned of the illegal dental operation from the mother of a 14-year-old girl who was taken by her mother and grandmother to the home for treatment.
When the family arrived at the home, they were greeted by Maria Perez, who brought them to the rear of the home where there was a "fully operational dentist office," police said.
According to police, Humberto Perez performed dental work on the girl, giving her prescription strength medication during the treatment.
The girl felt weak, sick and had uncontrollable pain during the procedure, but when she told Humberto Perez about the pain he was reluctant to stop and continued with the procedure, police said.
The girl's mother Claribel Altamonte said her daughter cried in excrutiating pain and Perez injected her gums, filed down her four front teeth and then ended up yanking them off.
Days later, the family took the girl to a reputable and licensed dentist, who told them that in his 37 years of practicing dentistry, he had never seen such a case, police said.
The girl is now being treated by a licensed dentist but was left permanently disfigured from the procedure by Humberto Perez. Both he and Maria Perez face charges of unlicensed practice of dentistry, unlicensed practice of the health care profession, aggravated child abuse and child neglect, according to police.
The girl's mother said her daughter was self-conscious about one chipped tooth but her insurance wouldn't pay for the dental work. That's why she went to Perez who was referred by a friend. She said she didn't think anything of the place becasue such dental offices are normal in her native Dominican Republic.
Odalis Hernandez Perez faces a child neglect charge, police said. It is unknown whether they have attorneys.
Detectives believe there may be more victims who have yet to come forward and ask anyone with information to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.