Man accused of running illegal dentist office

Julio Centeno charged with unlawful practice of dentistry

Published On: Sep 20 2012 06:01:43 PM CDT   Updated On: Sep 20 2012 06:04:00 PM CDT
HOUSTON -

A Houston man has been accused of running an unlicensed, illegal dentist office out of his apartment.

Julio Centeno, 50, has been charged with unlawful practice of dentistry.

He was arrested last week because police said despite having patients, he doesn't have the license to practice dentistry in Texas.

"If you are practicing without a license, if you are practicing out of an apartment complex, what type of facility are you offering that patient?" said Dr. Terri Alani, a licensed dentist.

According to Alani, going to an unlicensed dentist costs less, but the lack of proper sterilization could have fatal consequences.

"You could run the risk of maybe even death from oral surgery, extractions, infections. Unlicensed dentists, they're probably not able to link a lot of diseases that are associated with mouth problems," she said.

A neighbor of the suspect said he had no idea he lived right above the makeshift dentist office, but he believes Centeno was doing the low-income community a service.

"You got people like him who are trying to help out the minorities and stuff like that, so, it's like a good and a bad thing. It depends on how you look at it and who is looking at it," neighbor Mundo Izaquirre said.

Doctors urge patients to check if their dentist is licensed.

To get a list of licensed dentists who offer services to low-income patients visit the websites of the Greater Houston Dental Society or the Texas Dental Association.