Coquitlam man facing legal action for providing dentistry services illegally

Equipment has been seized and legal action is being taken against a Coquitlam man who the College of Dental Surgeons of BC (CDSBC) said was providing dentistry services illegally.

Vladimir Shapoval, who has never been licensed as a dentist in B.C., was under surveillance when investigators determined he had started an illegal practice at his his home on Salt Spring Avenue in the New Horizons neighbourhood.

With the help of police, CDSBC searched the home in October but only received permission from the B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday to publish Shapoval's name and photograph.

CDSBC chief executive officer Jerome Marburg said despite the fact Shapoval's home did not meet infection-control standards, a public health alert was not necessary.

But he said patients put their health in danger when they seek dental help from an unlicensed person.

"Anyone who sees an illegal practitioner puts themselves and their family at risk for bacterial and viral infections," he said. "There is no assurance that the practitioner is competent or qualified to provide treatment or that the materials and equipment they use are safe."

Shapoval first showed up on CDSBC's radar seven years ago when a patient came forward with a complaint about treatment they received. After the college began legal proceedings in 2006, Shapoval agreed to an order that prohibited him from practising dentistry.

Marburg said the file was reviewed following the investigation of Tung Sheng Wu, a man who was illegally treating patients at a rental home in Burnaby. After months of being on the lam, Wu eventually turned himself into police in Toronto and is now serving a three-month prison sentence.

On Tuesday, CDSBC also announced they would be taking legal action against another man who it alleges was practising dentistry illegally. Hua Zheng Huang is facing similar legal action after a seizure of dental equipment allegedly occurred at his Vancouver home in October.

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