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Unlicensed dentist leaves Chicago area patients with fake braces and a chipped tooth

By Lauren Victory

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    CHICAGO (WBBM) — Multiple patients have complained about the same Illinois dentist, worrying about what she put inside their mouths.

Their allegations sparked the state and a suburban police department to launch an investigation.

The last time Monica Bailey sat in a dentist’s chair, she was hopeful. Now, she’s nervous, as if her teeth were chattering.

“It’s hard,” Bailey said. “It is. I’m just hoping that we can have a positive outcome.”

It was February when she visited an office building in Schaumburg. Up on the eighth floor, Bailey and her 15-year-old daughter had appointments to get braces at a business called The Veneer Experts.

“Cleaned my teeth and started, you know, putting the glue on and putting the brackets on for the braces and I thought what she was doing was how it’s supposed to be done,” Bailey said.

She said the woman in a TikTok video worked on their teeth. Her name is Monica Davis. State records show Davis registered The Veneer Experts as a business in July of 2023.

“We’re changing lives, one smile at a time,” Davis said in the TikTok video.

A change was what tattoo artist Ralph Jones was after. You’d be hard-pressed to find a photo of him with a toothy smile.

“They just started decaying and falling out, and over the course of the years, it just started making my appearance look pretty bad,” Jones said.

A $2,000 price tag and huge customer smiles on The Veneer Experts Instagram page sold him. Jones visited Davis and her team for shiny teeth coverings called veneers.

Jones said he was told the new smiles last eight to 10 years, but that didn’t happen for him.

“I woke up to a chipped tooth,” he said. “Like there was a piece of it chipped.”

Disappearing act after procedure Bailey said her problems started when she tried to make a follow-up appointment.

“One of the numbers was disconnected. The other one, nobody would answer,” Bailey said.

Davis was nowhere to be found, literally. CBS 2 could not locate her name on the state website where dentists should be registered. In Illinois, dentists need to have a license.

“A license ensures that the person has had a high level of quality of education and training,” said Lindsay Wagahoff, governmental relations director at Illinois State Dental Society.

And it guarantees a dentist is well-versed in sanitation and patient safety. Wagahoff explained the consequences for anyone who touches teeth without a license.

“Sometimes, there are cease and desist letters that are sent, and then obviously there’s a process after that in the court system,” she said.

That process could result in an arrest. Davis knows all about that.

Accused of illegal practice in Las Vegas Apparently, The Veneer Experts had also been operating at a Las Vegas strip mall, and Davis got picked up for illegally practicing dentistry without a Nevada dental license.

When asked about seeing Davis’ mugshot, Bailey said she “couldn’t believe it.”

Court documents show Davis was released from police custody in Nevada on Jan. 31. It was only nine days later when Bailey said she and her daughter got braces from the unlicensed dentist.

“It’s crazy to me that she can do this in Las Vegas and post bail, and you come here and do the same thing,” Bailey said. “It’s like you have no fear.”

Speaking of fear, Jones took a photo of his chipped veneer.

“I don’t know what she put inside of my mouth,” he said.

Questions about procedures CBS 2 was allowed to share the photo with a properly credentialed dentist, Dr. Laura Zalay.

“I mean, the gum tissue is what I’m very concerned about, because if you can’t brush under those teeth, you’re not going to have teeth there much longer,” Zalay said.

Bailey also got bad news from Zalay, who examined her fake braces.

“They look like real braces, but they don’t connect to anything in the back and so there’s no way to move the teeth,” Zalay said.

That means the braces aren’t fixing anything.

Zalay asked Bailey if Davis had taken any x-rays of her teeth. Bailey said she didn’t.

“No x-rays? Because that’s obviously the first thing you would want to make sure that the teeth are healthy before you’re going to start moving them,” Zalay told Bailey.

CBS 2 did manage to reach Davis on the phone.

Reporter: “So you don’t have any comment on the people that you did procedures on here in Illinois?”

Davis responded by hanging up.

CBS 2’s in-person research revealed that The Veneer Experts were asked to leave their office in Schaumburg. A building receptionist said they’d received several calls from upset customers.

“We actually don’t even know how many people that she actually did this to,” Jones said.

Bailey called the experience “a big letdown.”

Jones added, “It’s wrong.”

It was a line crossed that left a small business owner and others with no choice but to dip into their savings and start over.

CBS 2 reached Davis twice, and both times, she didn’t have anything to say about her business or the allegations against her in Illinois or Nevada.

Her next Las Vegas court date is in May. CBS 2 heard she may have to appear in front of a judge in Illinois soon.

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