Former patients of an embattled dentist describe their childhood dental visits as traumatizing.
Cleaning crews emptied longtime dentist Howard Schneider's University Boulevard office on Wednesday.
Schneider faced 11 counts of Medicaid fraud filed by the State Attorney's office, but those charges were dropped last week after medical experts determined the former dentist was mentally incompetent.
Around 100 of Schneider's child patients alleged painful practices and unnecessary treatments by the doctor who voluntarily surrendered his dental license in 2015.
Shannon Combs, 32, said she went to Schneider at age 6 for problems with four of her baby teeth. Instead, she claims Schneider drilled and put silver caps on 22 of her teeth.
"I have a full blown panic attack every time I sit down in the chair," Combs said. "When it was over, my mother didn't even recognize me. My whole mouth [and face] was swollen."
It would be decades before concerned parents began picketing Schneider's dentist office over how he handled his patients and for blocking parents from sitting in on the visit.
"When I close my eyes, I can see him sitting beside me and his hands going in my mouth," Combs said. "Because I was in and out. I wasn't asleep like I was supposed to be."
Gloria Brown, 23, has similar memories from her childhood.
"I remember I woke up with my mouth wide open, he was just over me drilling but he didn't stop when he saw I woke up. He wanted me to stay still," Brown said.
Combs and Brown said news of the doctor's dropped charges left them shocked.
"It's disappointing because I know a lot of people came forward," Brown said.
Civil suits against Schneider are still pending and do not require his competence to go forward, but these former patients whose cases were outside the statute of limitations say they were looking to the criminal trial for closure.
"I really feel like he should be punished, it really really irks me that he's not getting nothing, not even a mental institution," Combs said. "Our mouths eventually heal but having an experience like that, I'm sure everyone will tell you, you have to deal with it for the rest of our lives."