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Bryn Mawr Dental Scam Ends in Two Arrests, Police Say

Cheryl Laing and Jessica Gullickson, of Broomall, were arrested after an investigation into an unauthorized after hours dental practice at “Smilz 4 Life” in Bryn Mawr.

Two Broomall women have been arrested following an investigation into an after-hours unauthorized dental practice at Smilz 4 Life dental office in Bryn Mawr, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office and Lower Merion Police Department announced Monday.

Cheryl Laing and Jessica Gullickson have been charged with Corrupt Organizations, Criminal Conspiracy, multiple counts of Theft by Deception, Unauthorized Practice of Dentistry and Recklessly Endangering Another Person, according to a press release.

Smilz for Life is operated by a licensed dentist, and the dentist and owner of Smilz For Life was unaware of Laing and Gullickson’s after hours work, the release states.

During regular office hours, Laing worked as a dental assistant at Smilz For Life and Gullickson worked as a receptionist. According to the District Attorney’s release, after hours, Laing  “set up her own dental practice at Smilz 4 Life while holding herself out to patients as a licensed dentist.”  Gullickson, who has no dental training, acted as Laing’s dental assistant.

Laing advertised through word of mouth in Bryn Mawr that she could perform virtually all dental procedures for uninsured patients at a drastically reduced price.  Laing and Gullickson only accepted cash payments and kept no patient records of their activities.  Laing and Gullickson did not take patient histories, such as past dental procedures and did not check whether the patients had drug allergies before performing treatment.  Laing and Gullickson performed the gamut of dental procedures including but not limited to: the taking of X-rays, injection of numbing agents, root canals, tooth extractions, the installation of both crowns and braces, and the dispensing of medications.
One patient indicated that he was in excruciating pain for the 45 minutes it took Laing to extract his tooth.  Another patient indicated that during her root canal, Laing left the room and told Gullickson, who had no medical or dental training whatsoever, to “find the root.”

Police have identified three patients that Laing and Gullickson treated after regular business hours of the dental practice, and "analysis of the computer logs for the X-ray machines used by Laing and Gullickson after hours show the existence of dozens of as yet-unknown patients," the release states.

The police are asking for the public’s help in identifying other patients Laing and Gullickson treated after hours:

If the defendants, Cheryl Laing and/or Jessica Gullickson performed a dental procedure on anyone in the community at the Smilz 4 Life Dentistry Office outside of regular business hours, please contact Detective John Mick of Lower Merion Township Police at 610-645-6229.

Patch will update this story as more information becomes available.

Edward Tobin December 18, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Wow...I had asked my insurance company to recommend a dentist and this place was on their list. I was having a surgery and needed a dental clearance. This place said they had a three week wait...no wonder, they were doing too much work after hours! Lock up these skunks and throw away the key.
Brigid McGrath December 18, 2012 at 04:47 PM
As a patient of Dr. Fan and Smilz 4 Life I highly recommend this practice. Dr. Fan was unaware of the wrong doing and is devastated by this whole horrible ordeal. He is an excellent dentist and has hired an entire new staff of extremely qualified hygienists, dental assistances etc...please don't punish him for the illegal acts of others.
Noelle Warner December 18, 2012 at 11:22 PM
I agree with Brigid..as a matter of fact Cheryl and the receptionist were both let go/fired/whatever months ago..My family has known Cheryl when she was working for the late Dr. Dennis Gilbert who rest his soul must be rolling in his grave. My sister warned me that Cheryl was a drug addict and couldn't be trusted but after meeting Dr. Phan and the new girls working there, i decided to stay...Dr. Phan is the nicest man and he even calls to make sure you are ok after procedures. Anyone that went after hours got there just dessert...when you agree to cut corners that's exactly what you get. I hope they lock them up for a long time.
JEFFREY December 18, 2012 at 11:38 PM
I don't know what punishment would satisfactory for their crimes, but it goes much deeper than the charges listed. They both need mental health intervention and as for the Dr. Who had no idea this was going on, how long does this have to go on before you notice that something is wrong here? It's been going on way to long for him not to suspect something was up. What about the burglar alarm- didn't he ever look at the reports showing him how late the alarms were set? The alarm company has all those records. They are told of the normal hours the alarm would be set and when they are not set on a routine basis, the owner is informed. If its true the Dr. Did not know or suspect anything, I wouldn't go to him if for no other reason than his stupidity.
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Libby Goldsmith December 31, 2012 at 10:56 PM
They were let go months ago? Then why are all of the photo's shown of them being taken from the Dental office shown just about a week ago? Please. Don't say things like that about Cheryl. That just isn't right or fair to say about someone's character. You are an idiot.
Noelle Warner January 02, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Libby, Cheryl grew up in my neighborhood, and my sister knew her very well. I am not the idiot, she is for BREAKING THE LAW!!!!!!! Cheryl is a liar, a cheat and a scam artist, as well as a drug addict...you obviously don't know her as well as you think you do.
Jayden Eden December 13, 2013 at 08:26 PM
This is very interesting considering my orthodontist told me about this story as well! http://www.dentistryplus.com/dentistryplus/home_copy.asp?section=section&sectionid=2&sectionsubid=167&sectionsubidparent=166 I am glad you posted this so more people will be cautious.

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