Rogue dentist faces charges
A Tongan man practising as a dentist without New Zealand registration was arrested yesterday on 12 charges of practising without certification and issuing prescriptions.
Anyone who had dental treatment from Mangere man Sione Heinave Vailea is being urged to contact a hospital as soon as possible.
The Counties Manukau District Health Board said Vailea has undertaken some dental therapy training but is not registered in New Zealand as a dentist or dental therapist and and was "practising well outside the law."
He is not permitted to perform dental surgery or to provide medication.
Investigations by the police and the DHB have revealed allegations that he has been seeing patients for many years in his home for a variety of dental treatments including fillings, extractions, denture work, and gold inlays.
It is also alleged that he used prescription pad in someone else's name to prescribe antibiotics and painkillers.
There are concerns that a large number of people may have been exposed to blood-borne diseases such as Hepatitis C or B, or other cross-contamination of infection risks, said DHB spokesperson Dr Clive Ross.
"We are very concerned that incorrect dental work and potential exposure to cross-contamination of infection could lead to long-term teeth, gum and health problems. It is very important that anybody who has been treated by this man come forward for advice," said Dr Ross.
However, he has no idea about how many patients have been treated by Vailea.
"No clinical records of any value have been found at this stage," he said.
It is likely Vailea was treating the Tongan community.
"It is very important that anybody who has been treated by this man come forward for advice," Dr Ross said.