Consult a registered dentist always

THE Malaysian Dental Association and its stakeholders have been following closely the events and news on "quack dentists" and "fake dentistry".

The dental profession is saddened by the apparent lack of awareness about the seriousness of this matter, with some people still consulting unregistered practitioners.

Dentistry is regulated by the Dental Act 1971 to ensure the safety of patients. People need to select a dental practitioner registered with the Malaysian Dental Council.

Dental procedures should be carried out by a registered dental practitioner either in public healthcare facilities or under a clinical environment in a premises registered under the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998. Hence, consumers have a constitutional right to seek safe dental treatment.

Under Section 2 Subsection 2 of the Act, a person shall be deemed to practise dentistry if he or she performs the following:

(a) treats or attempts to treat or professes to treat, cure, relieve or prevent any disease, deficiency or lesion or pain of the human teeth or jaws;

(b) performs or attempts to perform any operation on human teeth or jaws;

(c) inserts or attempts to insert any artificial teeth or appliances for the restoration, regulation or improvement of the teeth or accessory structures;

(d) performs any radiographic work in connection with human teeth or jaws or the oral cavity;

(e) gives any treatment, advice or attendance on or to any person in connection with the fitting or insertion for the purpose of fitting or fixing of artificial teeth or of a crown or bridge or an appliance for the restoration or regulation of the human teeth or jaws;

(f) gives any anaesthetic in connection with any such operation or treatment as mentioned under this subsection; or

(g) holds himself out whether directly or indirectly as practising dentistry.

Hence, it shall be deemed a violation of the Act, and an offence punishable under the law, if an unregistered individual, including "beauticians", performs the aforesaid.

The Malaysian Orthodontic Practitioners Association, is extremely concerned with the public seeking treatment of their mal-aligned teeth from these fake dentists. It advises not to take risks by undergoing procedures for fake braces and to ensure that proper orthodontic treatment is provided by registered practitioners.

Among the many negative effects of going to fake dentists includes complications arising from wrongful procedures that are not only unmanageable by these fake dentists but which render the disease even more complicated to treat and thereby incurring higher costs.

Infection control is often compromised and risks of contracting dangerous infections poses a threat to the patients and the fake dentists. The lack of medical knowledge among these fake dentists also subjects these "patients" to increased risk of morbidity and even death. Affected individuals who have been duped not only have to pay a substantial amount for the fake or wrongful treatment, they also suffer greatly from procedures which may leave irreparable damage.

Council of the Malaysian Dental Association
Malaysian Private Dental Practitioners Association
Malaysian Association of Oral Maxillofacial Surgeons
Malaysian Endodontic Society
Malaysian Association of Aesthetic Dentistry
Malaysian Oral Implant Association
Malaysian Association for Prosthodontics
Malaysian Association of Paediatric Dentistry
Malaysian Orthodontic Practitioners' Association
Islamic Dental Association of Malaysia