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Deceitful dentistry

Gazette staff September 11th, 2012

As if going to the dentist isn’t scary enough — what with all those outdated waiting-room magazines and those stainless steel instruments of torture and the dental hygienists who ask you questions while they’re carving God-knowswhat into your choppers — you can also worry about whether that dentist is a fake.

Credit: Brad Gregg

Oklahoma has seen its share of great impostors over the years, ranging from Frank Abagnale— the Tulsa con man who inspired the book and movie Catch Me If You Can — to half of the state Legislature, who still pretend the year is 1952.

If Oklahoma County prosecutors are to be believed, however, the mother-daughter team of Elizabeth Hinojosa and Monica Salazar Orozco won’t be making the Impostors Hall of Fame. While Hinojosa is accused of passing herself off as a dentist to scam unsuspecting patients, it appears her handiwork was a step below the old Nazi dude in Marathon Man. One of Hinojosa’s victims said he knew something was amiss when his two front teeth fell out shortly after being treated by “Dr. Liz.”

Hinojosa had been hired to serve as a dental assistant for a local dentist.

After hours, however, the 47-yearold woman evidently fancied herself capable of everything from extractions to root canals, preying on people who spoke little English and lacked dental insurance. The Oklahoma Board of Dentistry said there may be as many as 100 victims.

Hinojosa and her daughter finally turned themselves in to authorities this week. Surprisingly, their time on the run did not include a stop in Great Britain, where we’re pretty sure anyone can be a dentist over there.

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