NORCROSS -- From the outside, the home at 2200 Willow Trail Parkway, lot No. C11, appears like any trailer -- wide front porch, "Beware of the Dog" sign, a brick-girded walkway.
It's what police allegedly found in a bedroom -- a full-fledged, unlicensed dental practice -- that qualifies it as illegal, if not wholly unusual.
An anonymous caller pointed Gwinnett police to the trailer on Friday, reporting that a resident was running a dentist office inside. A responding officer spoke with Maria Ramirez, 37, who denied knowledge of the practice at first, but then consented to a search of the home, a police report states.
Choking up, Ramirez told police, "I'll stop doing it." Asked to clarify, she said, "Working on teeth," the report states.
In the bedroom, police found a dental chair and lamp, a cache of anesthetics and antibiotics, and an assortment of dental pliers, mouth mirrors and other instruments. A narcotics unit is investigating where Ramirez acquired the drugs, said Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith.
"She likely had an ongoing plan to acquire what she needed," he said.
Ramirez told police she previously worked as a dental assistant at a Buford office. She was arrested and charged with practicing dentistry without a license. A native of Mexico, she's also being detained for federal immigration authorities, jail records show.
Underground dentistry practices are a means for operators to earn side income or to skirt licensing requirements. Law enforcement periodically find them across metro Atlanta, but in Gwinnett, Smith said they are "not very prevalent."
Legal dentists in Georgia must be licensed by the state's Board of Dentistry, which lists 5,500 active licensees across Georgia.
The board ensures that applicants for dentist licenses have "acceptable education, training and personal character to safely practice in Georgia," the board's Web site reads.
The Norcross seizure joins a handful of others across Gwinnett in recent years.
Last year, a 71-year-old Ukrainian expat was arrested after a 20-year-old patient grew suspicious and pointed police to a practice in the basement of the suspect's Sugar Hill home, authorities said.
Two other busts happened near Lawrenceville in 2007.
Maintenance crews investigating a water leak alerted police a fully functioning dentist office in an apartment on Sweetwater Road, were one man was arrested that May.
Four months later, narcotics investigators arrested a woman and three men at a home on Timbercrest Court, where they found two dental chairs, an X-ray machine, dentistry tools and 377 vials of anesthetics, police said.
More than 50 patients had received dental work at that home. As with the Norcross trailer, a tipster pointed police to it.