FactFinder 12 investigation into Wichita denture practice continues, former employee talks about experience

Published: Feb. 5, 2023 at 8:36 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) -After a FactFinder 12 investigation, there’s now a helpline for patients who aren’t happy with their dentures from Affordable Dentures & Implants in Wichita.

We first told you about the investigation into that practice last week, and since then, the company has agreed to refund money and set up a phone number just for those having issues with the local branch. The company is offering guidance, telling people with issues to call 919-947-5262.

People like Viola, Linda, Sandra, Lisa, Deb and more all have a story about Affordable Dentures & Implants in Wichita. Many say they waited months for their set of dentures and never got them. Some say they were promised refunds that never happened, and others say they left with ill-fitting dentures and were told nothing else could be done.

“When you try to have a good meal and you don’t have teeth,” said Viola Vigil as she showed 12 News her missing bottom denture. Her daughter said she’s lost 30 pounds as she’s now on an all-liquid diet after leaving the company without bottom dentures.

After FactFinder 12 did some digging, Viola got her money back. But, since then, we’ve found out she’s not the only one.

“One too many complaints, I saw your story, nothing against ‘Affordable,’ but the truth is the truth,” said Marnie Bruce, a former employee at Affordable Dentures & Implants.

Marnie said she was with the company since October and was recently fired for not being on time. After she saw our story, she came to FactFinder about the practice.

She was the receptionist at the company and took our initial phone call.

“And I was like, oh. Oh boy. Here we go,” said Marnie.

Marnie’s main job was to answer phone calls at the company. She said each day, someone would call to ask for their money back.

“To be honest, thinking about it, I never saw an end result for anybody. Nobody called and said, ‘Hey, I got my check.’ It was always, ‘Where’s my money? Where’s my money? I’ve been waiting for this long,’” said Marnie.

After our initial story, many of you emailed or called FactFinder saying that your dentures didn’t fit, they hurt you or you didn’t receive them. Marnie said she believes it’s because it wasn’t always the dentist taking an impression. The impression is the first step in making a set of dentures.

“I believe it’s the people that are doing the adjustments. You put this young girl in the back and say, ‘Okay, start working on that.’ And she has no idea what’s she’s doing. They’re basically training these girls as they’re working,” said Marnie.

Viola Vigil said she and her daughter had to go back to the company many times when her dentures didn’t feel right.

“Because they didn’t fit right and they hurt her. The fourth or fifth time we went back, they just said, ‘Okay, we’re going to go ahead and refund you your money because this isn’t working out,’” said Jackie Wilfong, Viola’s daughter.

Another patient, Debora Dobbs, said she thought the same while she was getting her impressions done.

“Nobody really knew what they were doing. One girl that worked in reception suddenly was back there, and she’s learning how to put teeth in and fix them. One girl asked me, ‘Which mold do you think is the right one?’ I don’t know, I’m not the dentist,” said Debora.

The former employee said some patients aren’t getting their dentures because the lab is backed up.

“The lab is overwhelmed. She had 96 sets of dentures that she had to make, and some of the bites aren’t good because some of the girls that are doing the impressions aren’t doing them right. And she’d be like, ‘You gotta send them back, you gotta send them back. Redo a bit, I’m not going to be able to make the teeth,’” said Marnie.

She said she hopes the patients’ issues can be resolved.

“Some people are happy with their teeth, which is great. But more people, I believe, should be happy with what they pay for. There’s not enough percentage of people who say they look great, they feel great, I love it.”

FactFinder 12 asked the practice’s corporate company about their training requirements for techs to take impressions, and it said the local branch follows the Kansas state dental board regulations. We looked them up, and the state of Kansas does not require a license to take a dental impression.

If you have an issue you need our help with, call Factfinder 12 at 316-831-6166 or email us at investigators@kwch.com.