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Prosecutor Tells Patient’s Ordeal at Unlicensed Dentists’ Hands

Times Staff Writer

Two North Hollywood men were accused Thursday of practicing dentistry without a license and subjecting a woman to hours of agony while they struggled to remove a mold one of them had allowed to harden in her mouth.

Oscar Moran, 22, and his brother, Marvin Moran, 23, were charged with three and two counts respectively of practicing dentistry without a license. Each violation is punishable by a maximum of six months in jail and a $3,000 fine.

Evidence against the pair, scheduled for arraignment March 28 in Los Angeles Municipal Court, was gathered during an undercover operation by police detectives posing as patients, Los Angeles City Atty. James K. Hahn said.

Oscar Moran, reached by telephone at his home, said he learned dentistry in his native El Salvador but declined further comment until he can consult an attorney. Marvin Moran refused comment.

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The investigation was launched after a Sylmar woman complained to authorities about the treatment she received from Oscar Moran in January. She said she went to Moran’s apartment complaining of a toothache. Moran was using his apartment in the 7200 block of Case Avenue as both his home and dental office, Hahn said.

$500 Fee Quoted

“After examining the woman, Moran told her that she needed four crowns and that his fee would be $500,” the city attorney said. “She gave him a check for $200 as a down payment, and he began work.

“After giving the woman eight injections of a painkiller, Moran pulled two teeth--a front tooth and a molar--and drilled four others. Then he used several different molds in unsuccessful attempts to get an impression of her front teeth.”

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Hahn said the woman told investigators that she repeatedly questioned Moran about the treatment and complained of pain. According to the woman, Moran replied, “I know what I’m doing.”

“Moran finally put a hot plastic mold over her front teeth in another attempt to get an impression and left the room,” Hahn said. “By the time he got back, the plastic had hardened, and he couldn’t get it off.

“Moran, along with his wife and sister-in-law, who also were in the apartment, hammered on the mold and struggled for an hour to remove it. Meanwhile, the painkiller had worn off and the woman was in agony.”

Finally, according to Hahn, Moran phoned his brother, Marvin, a dental-lab technician but not a dentist.

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Another Man, Another Hour

“He came to the apartment and worked for another hour before finally getting the mold off the victim’s teeth,” Hahn said.

The woman needs dental work to repair the damage and has been told by a dentist that it will cost $3,000, said Hahn, who added that his office will seek to require the Morans to reimburse the woman for her expenses.

Deputy City Atty. Ruth Kwan, who is prosecuting the case, said an appointment book seized by investigators shows Oscar Moran had more than 50 clients, most of them with Spanish surnames. She said the woman who complained to authorities had heard about Oscar Moran’s dental practice by word of mouth.

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Kwan advised consumers to beware of dentistry being practiced out of a home, to look for a license and check with the Board of Dental Examiners to verify a dentist’s credentials.

Oscar Moran was arrested Feb. 24 and released from Van Nuys Jail after posting $1,000 bail. Marvin Moran has not been arrested and will be notified by mail of the charges against him and the arraignment date, authorities said.


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