DETROIT – A state investigation is underway after Help Me Hank exposed a Detroit woman doing unlicensed dental work from her home.
A viewer emailed Local 4 with concern about advertisements on Facebook that claimed a woman could put braces on the top and bottom teeth for $150 each, tighten them for $50, fix the braces for $10 to $20 and whiten teeth for $65.
The ads themselves looked absurd, but the rock-bottom prices intrigued some residents around Metro Detroit.
The woman behind the ads unknowingly met with Local 4's undercover producer, who quickly realized it wasn't just a joke.
"I can understand you being nervous," the woman said. "Have you even seen my work?"
"I saw the Facebook page," our producer said.
"What are you trying to get?" the woman asked. "What's wrong with your teeth?"
"You see right there," our producer said. "The rest of mine are straight."
"You've got to get the whole thing done," the woman said. "Your teeth will be straight in two months."
Dr. Robert DiPilla, a trusted and respected cosmetic dentist with offices in Detroit, Birmingham and New York, was stunned to learn about the scheme.
"Dentists and orthodontists, we're not just mechanics of the mouth," DiPilla said. "We are doctors of the mouth, and to me, that's paramount."
DiPilla and many other experts who saw the ads agree the consequences of getting procedures done by an untrained person could be severe.
"It's about the maintenance and also the follow-up and also the diagnosing," DiPilla said. "It's not about just putting the brackets on and putting the wire across. Unfortunately, what I see is anyone can go on Amazon and buy brackets and wires and adhesive to do that."
State investigators said untrained people who perform procedures aren't only violating ethical standards. They could also be committing a felony.
"You could have TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) issues, muscle spasms," DiPilla said. "You can have loose teeth. You can have teeth that can come out."
Local 4 has spoken with the state licensing board, the Michigan Dental Association and police.
Investigations are now underway to stop the woman from continuing the activity.
"I told you, I'm nervous and stuff like that because I've always gone to the dentist," our producer said. "Are you licensed?"
"Yes, I'm licensed," the woman said.
The names given by the woman weren't connected to anyone listed as a dentist, orthodontist or hygienist.
Hank Winchester went to the home to confront the woman.
"Are you performing dental procedures?" Hank asked.
"No," the woman said.
"Are you doing braces?" Hank asked.
"No," the woman said.
"When you have a procedure like this, you need to go to an office," Hank said. "You need to deal with a dentist. You've got people showing up at your porch to get braces on their teeth. This is crazy."
"That person didn't give me no money," the woman said.
"What was that person here for?" Hank asked.
"That person didn't give me no money for braces," she said.
"Was he here for braces?" Hank asked.
"No, he wasn't," she said.
"He wasn't?" Hank asked.
"No, he wasn't" she said.
"Do you want to know how I know you're lying?" Hank asked.
"Tell me," she asked.
"Because that person is an undercover producer for us," Hank said.
"Wow," she said.
Moments after the confrontation, a new message was posted on the woman's Facebook page, saying, "Hey somebody called Channel 4 News (and I know) who did it."
Investigators are taking a closer look at the Facebook and Instagram ads and Local 4's hidden camera footage to learn more about the woman and what's going on.