Woman, 79, accused of practicing dentistry without license

Mary Contreras Diaz, 79, is charged with practicing denistry without a license

January 29, 2013 4:35:02 PM PST
A local woman is charged with performing dental work without a license. Prosecutors say the certified dentist at what was once the Heights Dental Center passed away, but the dental work there continued. Now they want to hear from anyone who dealt with the defendant.

Mary Diaz, 79, looked dazed and unsteady as she faced a judge on Tuesday. She's now out of jail on a $5,000 bond.

"I was in the hospital for three months. Right now I can hardly walk," she said. "I almost got hit by a car because I can't balance my steps."

Diaz has been charged with practicing dentistry without a license. It's a third degree felony that carries a penalty of two to ten years in prison.

She said, "They say it did and they have their investigators from the dental board. So what can I say?"

Diaz reportedly worked at Heights Dental Clinic as a dental technician for several years. The clinic is now closed. But, according to prosecutors, Diaz started doing dental work when the licensed dentist there died last spring. She's accused of taking dental impressions for two patients back in April and prosecutors say Diaz may have seen other patients, too.

"The individuals were charged $600 and $1,200 respectively for the dental impressions that were taken and the dentures," said prosecutor Martina Longoria. "They did not receive those dentures."

The alleged victims didn't return phone calls from Eyewitness News on Tuesday. But KTRK legal analyst Joel Androphy says they are the key to this case.

"If they were truly victimized, it's going to be a difficult situation for Ms. Diaz," Androphy said. "But if they played along, the DA's office is just going to say stop doing this. They may not even ask her to plead guilty."

If you believe you were treated by Diaz, you're asked to contact authorities.

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