People charged with practicing dentistry without a license are often immigrants who worked as dentists in their country of origin. But the US has home-grown fake dentists too – like 39-year-old Joseph Hershberger of Fredericksburg, Pennsylvania. The Old Order Amish man was convicted of illegal drug possession and is now facing misdemeanor charges of practicing dentistry without a license.
He received a 90-day suspended sentence for possession of lidocaine (more lenient than the 12 months he was facing) due to his cooperation with authorities. He voluntarily turned over syringes and his supply of lidocaine, and also named the individual who had provided him with the drug, who is now under investigation. Hershberger faces up to 180 days for practicing without a license.
Authorities began to look into Hershberger one year ago when a 14-year-old girl he had treated required hospital treatment for bleeding gums. The investigation revealed a troubling situation: Hershberger had pulled out all of the teenager’s healthy teeth because she wanted to have dentures like her older sister. “I can’t understand why anyone would pull all the teeth of a 14-year-old girl,” said the judge in this case. “I have no doubt you had parental consent (but) that’s beyond the law. That’s something that’s hard for a judge to understand.”
Frankly, it’s hard for anyone to understand.