Breathtaking horror of cheap dental braces

PETALING JAYA: A lot of people choose to wear braces to straighten their teeth and for aesthetics.

Such a delicate intervention must be carried out by a trained professional given its complexity.

However, problems will arise when the procedure is performed by someone without proper training or certification, said the president of the Malaysian Dental Association, Dr Lim Chiew Wooi.

These procedures by illegal dental practitioners, or charlatans, are downright unethical and illegal, he added.

“Unsuspecting patients will experience adverse results and risk injury.

“It also makes it more difficult for proper treatment at a later stage, or worse, could lead to permanent damage,” he said when contacted.

Dr Lim said there was also a lack of infection control measures.

“Dental instruments must be sterilized by autoclaving or discarded when used if disposable, and patient treatment protocol can only be learned in an appropriate educational institution.

“When no infection control measures are taken during treatment, bacteria and viruses can be introduced into the patient’s body, which could make them sick,” he said, adding that this could become mortal.

He added that it is not uncommon to hear about these illegal practitioners as there is a demand for them.

“The public should equip themselves with dental knowledge so that they can identify legally qualified dental practitioners.

“They shouldn’t fall into the cheap fee trap,” he said.

He added that legal dental practitioners are registered with the Malaysian Dental Council and have an Annual Certificate of Practice (APC).

Private dental clinics also need a “Borang C” issued under the Private Health Facilities and Services Act 1998.

His comments follow a viral tweet on Tuesday from a user promoting a braces installation service by an allegedly uncertified acquaintance to another user who inquired about the price of braces.

“My friend does it (installation of splints) for only RM300 and also does house calls.

“You can do monthly checkups for just RM50 or choose to do it at a clinic, and she’s certified (I guess). Do you want the number? read the tweet.

This caught the attention of the Department of Health, which responded to the tweet asking for the person’s number.

The user has since made their account private.

The ministry’s Dental Health Program Twitter account also responded with various tweets highlighting the dangers of fake braces fitting, including bleeding gums, tooth decay and the use of potentially dangerous materials.

Cases of people providing dental services without a license have also been previously reported.

In 2017, 20-year-old Nur Farahanis Ezatty Adli was jailed for six days for running a dental clinic that was not registered under Section 27 of the Private Health Facilities and Services Act 1998. In the same year, Syidatul Hizlin Abd Hamid, 19, was fined. RM40,000 in default of one year in jail by a sessional court for providing unlicensed dental appliance service in a homestay in Kuala Terengganu.

In 2016, 21-year-old Nurul Nadzirah Mohd Saidi was fined RM25,000 after pleading guilty to offering the service in a hotel room in Kuala Terengganu.

She admitted learning how to fit braces through videos on YouTube.

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