Illegal dentist’s patients warned of infection risk

Valentyn Uvarov had been under investigation since fall of 2013, but evidence for court order was elusive until now

Patients who were treated by an unlicensed dentist operating illegally in Surrey are being warned they may have been exposed to blood borne infectious diseases because of lax infection control safeguards.

The College of Dental Surgeons of B.C. said Valentyn Uvarov had been operating without a dentistry license out of 14275 62 Avenue and its investigators suspect he was reusing what are supposed to be single-use containers of injectable anesthetic from one patient to the next.

“This would potentially pose a risk of blood and body fluids transferring from one client to the rest and associated with that blood borne infections such as hepatitis B and C and HIV,” said Fraser Health medical health officer Dr. Michelle Murti.

Uvarov’s patients are advised by Fraser Health to follow up with health care providers or call 811 to determine if testing is recommended.

Murti said Uvarov didn’t keep patient records, but it’s believed he treated a relatively small number of mostly Russian-speaking patients, many of them friends and family.

The College of Dental Surgeons of B.C. obtained a court order April 24 barring him from practising dentistry or claiming to be a dentist.

“We first got wind of him in September of 2013 when a member of the public alerted us,” college registrar and CEO Jerome Marburg said.

The initial investigation didn’t yield enough evidence, Marburg said, but by this March investigators had enough for a warrant to search the premises, turning up more grounds to obtain the court injunction.

Other incidents of rogue dentists operating without a licence in Metro Vancouver have spawned health warnings before.

Most notorious was Burnaby’s Tung Sheng (David) Wu, who was sentenced to three months in jail in 2013 for violating a court order against practising dentistry. He operated in unsanitary conditions at cut-rate prices.

Four other illegal dental practitioners have been flagged by the dental surgeons’ college in the past 18 months – Vladimir Shapoval in Coquitlam, Hua Zheng Huang in Vancouver, Chao Ming Guan in Vancouver and Wei Ming (Margaret) Du in Vancouver.

Marburg said others are actively under investigation but he wouldn’t guess at how many illegal dentists operate in the region.

“Most of it’s underground so you just don’t know the scale of it.”

Marburg said new immigrants often don’t realize dentistry is a regulated profession and can be preyed on by practitioners they find by word of mouth through their community.

“These people are not good Samaritans. They are purveyors of harm. They are not do-gooders.”

He said anyone can check a dentist’s status through the college’s website, and added various low- or no-cost clinic options exist for patients who can’t afford care. (See the college’s advice letter to patients here.)

Just Posted

Surrey Central SkyTrain Station upgrades completed

It’s the seventh station along Expo Line to see upgrades completed. Construction began in March 2017

Semiahmoo Trail students surpass Coldest Night fundraising goal

Rocco Forte and his team are third-year participants in Saturday’s Coldest Night of the Year walk

Tardi and team playoff bound in junior curling worlds tonight

Friday night Team Canada’s men’s team faces off against Norway, hoping to secure a spot in the finals

Surrey students learn the ins and outs of business through workers’ co-operative

Mentors work with youth in voluntary after-school program

Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K.’ before posting on social media

‘Be Kind’ message on shirts sold for anti-bullying activities of Wednesday, Feb. 27

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Fraser Health closes all pools at Harrison Hot Springs

Public pool available after all five mineral pools closed until Monday

Man sentenced to 7 years for smuggling drugs and shooting at border guards in Sumas

Nathan Hall was arrested in Abbotsford in 2013 after day-long manhunt

No treatment for highly infectious measles, says doctor

10 cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver as of Friday

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Most Read