Illegal dentists a cheap option, says patient 0
The space was clean and tidy and Galyna Shevchenko said it was the best option for her to have her bridgework done.
Turning down $5,000 from her son to go to a licensed dentist, Shevchenko decided to pay $1,000 to have the work done underground — more specifically in the basement of a house somewhere in the Lower Mainland.
“He was absolutely wonderful,” she said. “Everything is nice and clean and perfect, and the equipment was perfect.”
Shevchenko heard about the dentist by word of mouth and wouldn’t talk about where the office was, but said her appointments were always at night and he did all treatments, including cleaning teeth.
She said without him, she would have had to lose her teeth.
“I don’t want to embarrass my son when I smile and I have no teeth,” she said.
Last week, the College of Dental Surgeons of B.C. raided the second illegal dentist operation this year at a home in East Vancouver.
The college is also still hunting David Wu, who last week was convicted in absentia of contempt of court in relation to his illegal dental practice being run out of a home in Burnaby.
The college said using such dentists can be dangerous for customers, who may save money but come away with shoddy work or even diseases such as hepatitis.
The background of the home dental office raided by the college last week is unknown, but there’s been speculation they may have been trained dentists in other countries, but unable to work legally in Canada.
Tania Dina works for the immigrant group S.U.C.C.E.S.S., but has worked as an immigrant settlement worker in the past.
She said many people trained as dentists in their home countries come to Canada and cannot use their skills upon arrival. Dina knows those who were senior dentists in their home countries and can’t even work as assistants.
Canada needs to communicate more clearly with such people before they arrive, Dina said.
“You’re giving them false hope by inviting them based on skill points,” said Dina. “It gives them hope that they are acceptable and when they come here they find (it) different.”
She said many immigrants don’t want to use illegal dentists, but there could be a market for it.
“They usually don’t make that kind of mistake unless they prefer their own language-speaking doctor,” said Dina.