The terrible “tooth” of fake dentists
PETALING JAYA: Damaged teeth, tooth loss, swollen gums and even paralysis – these are just some of the symptoms people suffer from after a botched job by quacks offering quick and cheap fixes.
These illegal dentists can be found almost anywhere – in beauty salons, barbershops, day and night markets, and even on sidewalks.
READ ALSO : Patients find dentists on social media – and regret it
Some even offer door-to-door services.
The Department of Health has seen complaints from affected customers nearly triple, from 54 in 2017 to 130 in 2019. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg – the few affected people who have come forward to file reports .
READ ALSO : Fake dentists keep their mouths shut
Most simply try to find a real dentist to fix the problem. And it could be costly if done in the private sector.
A dentist who spoke to The Star said registered clinics had come across at least 30 cases involving the placement of braces by illegal practitioners in four years.
READ ALSO : How I Became a “Dentist” in Just Five Hours
The Star’s revelation of the abundance of illegal and unqualified ‘dentists’ who received beauty salon ‘certification’ yesterday has raised concern even among those in the medical fraternity who have seen the effects of these practitioners’ shoddy work. .
These include swollen gums, tooth loss and paralysis.
The Ministry of Health’s senior director of oral health, Dr Noormi Othman, said professional dentists not only examine patients’ teeth, but also understand human anatomy – the blood vessels and muscles that s interconnect.
“Any inappropriate treatment can cause the patient consequences such as swelling, pain, nerve paralysis and infection.
“These fake dentists generally use unsterilized equipment which can lead to the transmission of diseases such as HIV, Covid-19 or hepatitis B.
“Good infection control is not a priority because they only think about profits,” she said, adding that some of those arrested said their customers weren’t bothered by health issues. hygiene, as long as they got what they wanted.
Dr Iqbal Rosali, a member of Medical Mythbusters Malaysia (dental), said illegal practitioners would normally only provide ‘cosmetic’ treatments and would not treat a patient’s actual condition.
“If a patient comes to us, we will check the condition of their mouth and teeth, and resolve any issues that may lead to further complications.
“These are the things that these illegal practitioners cannot do. For example, they will conceal broken teeth with veneer.
“It only leads to other complications such as swollen gums and premature loss of teeth,” Dr Iqbal said.
A dentist who wished to be known as Dr Anis said her clinic had handled no less than 30 cases mostly involving students whose braces had been repaired by quack dentists.
“They see it as a fad (a statement), but what they don’t think about is how it would affect their gums and teeth.
“Some of them had teeth that looked fine, but at the end of the day their teeth deteriorated,” she said.
The elderly, especially those in rural areas, are easy prey for quack dentists.
“We’ve had many older people come to us because they were in pain after wearing dentures for about two to three years.
“It happens because the dentures cannot be removed, so these people cannot clean their gums. This then leads to infections,” she said.
A dentist, who wished to be known as Dr MJ, said he had a patient who had ‘mentos or toilet white’ teeth after a quack fixed his dental veneer.
“The patient paid dearly for the veneer. Unfortunately we had to remove everything because it was not repaired properly.
“Not only were his teeth damaged, but his gums were also swollen,” he said.
Some also reportedly used false acrylic nails on the patient’s teeth for a whitening effect.