A dental surgery office on Williston Road in South Burlington has closed without warning. One of its former patients says it owes him thousands of dollars.

“You know, it’s hard to eat without teeth,” Andrew Gray of Waterbury said Friday.

Gray said he’s had difficulty eating for about six months. He blames the former Affordable Dentures & Implants office at the Small Meadows Shopping Center.

“I went to them and I said, ‘listen, I’m going to get my teeth pulled out’,” Gray noted. “I said, ‘are you going to be able to get dentures for me?’. And they agreed they would, so I got 20 teeth pulled out of my mouth.”

After paying $3,400, Gray said he’s still waiting for those dentures. He last visited the office about a month ago.

“I showed up the day that they closed the doors,” he said. “I showed up early, and I had to run across town real quick. By the time I came back, they had already scraped off the name off the door and put up a flyer that said ‘we’re closed until further notice’. I called the main office; they didn’t want to refund me. I tried to get a hold of Dr. Bench.”

Records from the Better Business Bureau show Dr. Stephen Bench as the owner. Neither a working phone number for him, nor a current address, were available by Friday night’s deadline.

The BBB has received several complaints about his office from this year alone. Gray is trying to get funds together for dentures from a different practice.

“They said, ‘oh, we’ve got so many patients coming in that Affordable Dentures did that to them, too’,” he said.

The former Affordable Dentures office is now empty. The lights are off and the doors are locked.

The office’s listed phone number is still operational. However, it directs callers to a recording that includes the message, “You have reached our voice mail either because we are busy helping another patient or our office is currently closed.”

When a reporter dialed the toll-free phone line for Affordable Dentures & Implants, he was given two numbers to call at corporate headquarters in North Carolina. One of these was the number for Karen Carter, the company’s media coordinator. She neither answered nor returned multiple calls.

The other phone number provided to the reporter was inoperative. It directs callers to the recorded message, “Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please check the number and dial again.”

Gray said that as of Friday, he had not reached out to the Vermont Attorney General’s office. However, in an email to ABC 22 and Fox 44 News, Chief of Staff Lauren Jandl said:

“The Attorney General’s Office is aware of the complaint about this entity, and we are looking into this matter. Pursuant to office policy, we cannot confirm whether a formal investigation is underway. Vermont consumers with a complaint involving this matter are encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program by calling 1-800-649-2424 or visiting ago.vermont.gov/cap.”

Because Gray had not spoken with the A.G.’s office, he cannot have been the person who filed the complaint Jandl mentioned. This supports Gray’s assertion that other Affordable Dentures patients have also lost money.

A representative with Affordable Dentures did send a statement to ABC 22 and Fox 44 stating:

Affordable Dentures & Implants is committed to providing valued patients with high-quality, compassionate care. The Affordable Dentures & Implants practice in Burlington, Vermont, owned by Dr. Stephen Bench, vacated its office at 1162 Williston Road, Burlington, VT. Patients of Dr. Bench’s former Affordable Dentures & Implants practice can call 1-800-DENTURE for additional assistance with their continuation of care.

The representative also clarified that Karen Carter is not the media coordinator, that she used to work in the advertising department but no longer works for Affordable Dentures.

This story was updated with a statement from Affordable Dentures