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Craft-clay dentures prompt court action against allegedly unlicensed B.C. man

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June 14, 2016 - 8:00 PM

VANCOUVER - Dental regulators in British Columbia have asked the province's Supreme Court to shut down what they allege is an unlicensed denture-fabrication business operating in the Vancouver area.

The College of Dental Surgeons, College of Denturists, and College of Dental Technicians have filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court asking that Matthew Ronald Block be stopped from taking money and providing services that are only allowed to be conducted by their members.

Court documents allege Block is making false teeth from modelling clay, which he advertised online as a "long-lasting, safe alternative" until the customer can afford a dentist. Each hand-made tooth costs $100, according to copies of the advertisement filed with the petition.

The documents allege Block isn't authorized to do the work of a regulated health profession.

Court documents say evidence was gathered by a private investigator hired by the College of Dental Surgeons.

An affidavit from investigator Michael Lantz says that Block confirmed he was not a dentist when he contacted the man by email in August 2015 to make an appointment.

When he arrived at Block's apartment in Richmond, B.C., he observed impression trays made of aluminum foil and was informed an artificial tooth could be made in about an hour, Lantz says in an affidavit.

The document says Block told him it would be "no problem" to fill two spaces where he was missing teeth and that he used a non-toxic, oven-baked polymer clay to make the teeth.

"(Block) explained that he bakes the imprint in his oven, then shaves it down to form the shape of a tooth. He states he then paints it with a glaze made by the same company as the modelling clay to make it look like a tooth," Lantz says in the affidavit.

Block also said he made a tooth for his girlfriend, which she had been wearing for four years, the documents say.

The affidavit says Lantz later researched the clay and discovered it is commonly used in arts and crafts. He also learned it is not recommended for items that will come into contact with food or beverages.

He says in the affidavit that he watched Block put on dirty black latex gloves and begin to knead the clay, at which point he declined to proceed with the procedure.

Block could not immediately be reached for comment.

None of the allegations has been tested in court.

The colleges allege Block is not registered with any dental college in British Columbia. The petition seeks special costs, alleging his actions put the public at risk.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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