She pulled teeth, applied fillings, replaced crowns and wrote prescriptions for pain medications — just like a dentist. Only Krista Szewczyk doesn’t have a license to practice dentistry, according to investigators. And her work sent at least one man to the hospital for emergency surgery to repair the damage done to his mouth.
Though she was warned several years ago she could not legally perform dental work, Szewczyk allegedly continued to run her Paulding County business, and performed dental procedures in some patients’ homes, and complaints continued to come in about her. She later closed that office and in 2017 re-opened County Dental Services, this time in Marietta.
Last week, a Paulding grand jury indicted Szewczyk on 48 counts, including 40 counts of practicing dentistry without a license, three counts of writing unlawful prescriptions, one count of forgery and three counts of insurance fraud. But investigators said this week she could face more charges as former patients continue to come forward.
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“There are numerous new victims that are now under investigation, and we’ll have to follow up on those allegations and determine whether to re-present it to the grand jury,” Matthew Rollins, senior assistant district attorney in Paulding, said Monday. “We’ll keep on fielding those calls and investigating the allegations as they come in.”
Szewczyk’s attorney, Jimmy Berry, did not return a call from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution regarding the case.
On Tuesday, County Dental was open for business in a one-story brick building, just off Marietta Square. The door was locked and only opened for patients who knocked. One man told Channel 2 Action News he was there only to retrieve his medical records before speaking with police. Another man said he needed teeth pulled and hadn’t had any problems with the office, so he kept his appointment.
County Dental Providers became a licensed business, operating in Dallas, in October 2011, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office, and Szewczyk is listed as the company’s CEO. For several years, the business operated within a shopping center on Nathan Dean Boulevard, address records showed.
But it wasn’t a typical dental practice, according to the company’s website.
“The company is solely a business service organization, which means we don’t do dentistry or get involved in the decisions made between dentist and patient,” the County Dental Providers’ website states. “Our affiliated dentists spend most of their time with their patients delivering high-quality patient care, while our highly-trained business professionals manage the business aspects…”
Though licensed dentists are contracted to work from the County Dental Providers office, Szewczyk was not one of them. She holds no professional license, according to the Georgia Department of Community Health, Georgia Composite Medical Board and Secretary of State’s Office.
“It doesn’t matter if a doctor was in the room holding her hand, she can’t be doing it,” Rollins said. “The law is pretty clear on this one.”
As early as 2012, Szewczyk was performing illegal work on the mouths of customers, according to her indictment. Szewczyk was previously accused of posing as a dentist, Rollins said, but at that time, her husband was a Paulding sheriff’s deputy, and the DA’s office determined it was a conflict of interest to pursue the charges. Instead, Szewczyk was offered a pre-trial diversion program, Rollins said.
“Unfortunately, it appears from our dates, she did not abide by the terms of the pre-trial agreement,” he said.
David Marsh told Channel 2 Action News he needed two teeth pulled and a deep cleaning when he went to County Dental Providers when the office was in Dallas. A few days after Szewczyk did the procedures, Marsh said the pain and swelling became unbearable.
“My neck was like the size of a tennis ball. It was closing in on my throat,” Marsh said. “My wife took me to the ER and they said I had to be rushed to Grady to have emergency surgery. That’s where they cut the abscess, put a tube in through my mouth, through my neck for everything to drain out.”
The investigation into Szewczyk continued Tuesday in two counties. If convicted, Szewczyk could face prison time, according to Georgia law.
CHECK YOUR DOCTOR
Dentists: The Georgia Board of Dentistry's website is the easiest way to verify that a dentist and hygienist have current, professional licenses. Go to https://gbd.georgia.gov and click on Online Resources.
Other doctors: For other doctors and medical professionals, visit the Georgia Composite Medical Board's website at https://medicalboard.georgia.gov. Click on Look Up A Licensee.
Nurses and other medical professionals: The Georgia Secretary of State's website offers an online search for professional licenses required for many professions, including nurses and dietitians. The website is www.sos.ga.gov. Click on Licensing.
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