WESLEY CHAPEL, Fla. — Pasco County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Jose Mas-Fernandez, 33, for allegedly practicing dentistry without a license.
“Why people would go to someone like this, we don’t know. We can only speculate, but it is against the law. You have to have a license,” said PSO Community Relations Director Kevin Doll. “You have to be licensed by the state, and this individual obviously did not have that.”
The arrest was the result of a joint investigation between the Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Health.
Authorities said Mas-Fernandez offered to pull teeth for both an undercover detective and an undercover health department investigator. He reportedly offered to provide antibiotics for $150 and numbing medication for $20.
Inside Mas-Fernandez’s apartment, investigators found dental equipment and medication. Doll said he told detectives the supplies came from Cuba.
PSO’s documents state that after his arrest, Mas-Fernandez admitted to performing dental work, like teeth cleanings and extractions, out of his home. It’s unclear how many people he may have treated.
“Any medical doctor who’s not licensed working on your body can be very dangerous,” said Doll. “That’s why we suggest anybody who did see this individual to go to a real dentist and have their teeth checked out.”
Doll said Mas-Fernandez told detectives he worked as a dental assistant at Land O’ Lakes Dental Care. The office was closed Friday.
According to Brad Dalton, press secretary for the state health department, the DOH received 1,051 complaints of unlicensed activity during the fiscal year of 2018-2019. The department issued 593 cease-and-desist orders during that time.
Dalton said of those, 67 complaints and 36 cease and desist orders were related to the practice of dentistry. The DOH said Mas-Fernandez received one of those cease and desist orders.
The DOH reminds the public that being treated by an unlicensed medical professional could result in injury, disease, or death. License information for health care practitioners can be found at: www.flhealthsource.gov/ula.
This content was originally published here.