17 News has fielded a series of calls from unhappy patients after first reporting Wednesday night that the Dental Board wants to suspend or strip the license of local dentist Dr. Robert Tupac.
The patients' stories are similar: botched dental implants that left their mouths disfigured. One former patient we spoke with says she sued Dr. Tupac and settled with him for $80,000.
But, that's nothing compared to the dental bills she says, she's racked up trying to fix her mouth.
"I start out with Advil then i go to Vicodin." Patty Hicks has a basket full of pain pills and a world of dental problems.
"I probably cry at least five nights out of the week," she said.
Pictures show Patty's upper gums were left swollen and red after several of the posts used to anchor the artificial teeth in her mouth became infected. She says part of the bone rotted away.
"That's why I don't eat," said Hicks. "I don't eat. That's why I've lost 35 pounds. I just went to the doctor the other day."
Hicks says Dr. Robert Tupac implanted her artificial teeth in 2008.
Dr. Tupac hasn't returned 17 News' repeated calls or responded to an e-mail message from 17 News.
But, Patty isn't alone.
The Dental Board seeks to suspend or revoke Dr. Tupac's license after a chorus of complaints flooded in over the last four to five years, not just from patients, but from several of Dr. Tupac's colleagues.
"It's like something, that you have to take your tongue and press really hard up in your mouth to get it to stop pounding," said Hicks.
One of those who alerted the Board is local dentist Robert Reed who, according to state documents, saw several of Dr. Tupac's patients while Tupac was on medical leave.
Dr. Reed was shocked, reporting to the Dental Board about "poorly placed dental implants, poorly placed prosthesis and comments by patients that much of their work was done by dental assistants."
We called Dr. Reed on the phone, but he declined to speak with us about the case.
However, we do know from the Dental Board complaint that one of those patients Dr. Reed was talking about is Patty Hicks.
"He said that when he saw the x-rays from them that it was so infected that the pus and everything was actually coming out," said Hicks.
Dr. Tupac's website and TV commercials are filled with patient testimonials.
Patty says that's part of the reason why she decided to have all of her upper teeth pulled and the implants installed.
"He hurt me and he has taken my life, and that to me is criminal because he's doing it to other people too," she said.
Now, Hicks says, there's not a day that goes by she doesn't regret that decision. "You know, I can't go see my grandchildren. I can't have fun with my grandchildren. I can't play. I can't go out to lunch. I can't do anything. It's not right. It's just not right."
The Dental Board hearing regarding Dr. Tupac's license is set to start February 25th in Los Angeles.