British Columbia

Dental college cracks down on homemade tooth maker

B.C.'s dental regulators are going to court in a bid to shut down a DIY denturist who allegedly used Craigslist to sell false teeth made out of craft store modelling clay.

Private investigator claims Matthew Ronald Block offered to make him a tooth out of modelling clay

A B.C. Supreme Court petition includes this Facebook picture of Matthew Ronald Block and his girlfriend. A private investigator claims Block offered to fit him with an artificial tooth. (Facebook)

B.C.'s dental regulators are going to court in a bid to shut down a DIY denturist who allegedly used Craigslist to sell false teeth made out of craft store modelling clay.

In a petition filed in B.C. Supreme Court, the colleges of dental surgeons, dental technicians and denturists are combining to seek an injunction preventing Matthew Ronald Block from operating out of his Richmond apartment.

'Temporary flipper type false tooth'

According to documents filed in the case, Block came to the authorities' attention last August after boasting in a Craigslist ad of having "invented a temporary flipper type false tooth" to help his girlfriend overcome a dental abnormality.

"She is able to do everything she would with a normal smile like eat, kiss, sing etc," the ad said.

"The idea that others may be in similar situations and would benefit from my assistance has been in the back of my mind for several months."

A private investigator claims he was told his artificial tooth would be made of 'Sculpey', a modelling clay not usually associated with dental fixtures. (Sculpey)

The ad, which has since disappeared, offered to sell individually fitted teeth for $100 each.

The court filings include an affidavit from private investigator Michael Lantz, who was hired by the College of Dental Surgeons to follow up on the Craigslist ad.

Lantz claims he made an appointment with someone named Matthew, who promised the artificial tooth would be made to fit "snugly" without the use of glue or a drill.

"Matthew also confirmed that he is not a dentist," Lantz wrote.

'Dirty latex gloves' and 'Sculpey'

The investigator visited Matthew at his apartment, where he claims he was shown impression trays made out of aluminum foil: "He advised me that he would fill the trays with a clay product and have me bite into them."

Lantz claims that 'Matthew' told him he used a non-toxic polymer clay called 'Sculpey', which he then baked in the shape of a tooth and painted with glaze.

"After an internet search, I ascertained that this is a modelling clay commonly used in arts and crafts. The clay is not recommended for items that will come into contact with food or beverages," Lantz wrote.

"The respondent then put dirty latex gloves on and began kneading the clay."

At this point, Lantz claims he declined Matthew's offer to make a partial denture on the spot.

"The respondent then advised me that he was working on a full set of dentures that he referred to as a 'snap on smile'," Lantz wrote.

"He showed me what appeared to be a full upper set of teeth that could be clipped on to a person's real teeth."

Lantz claims Matthew's girlfriend then entered the room, showing him her artificial tooth and becoming "argumentative" when the investigator said he wanted to do a little more research.

According to his affidavit, Lantz asked Matthew if he had a lot of response to the Craigslist ad — "to which he replied 'surprisingly yes'."

The Supreme Court petition follows several high profile efforts to shut down rogue dentists operating out of suburban settings.

The dental colleges claim the acts governing their professions prevent unqualified people from making or fitting dentures or artificial teeth. 

None of the allegations have been proven in court. Block could not be reached for comment.