Outpatient dental care


  • Nation
  • Sunday, 07 Sep 2003

By AUDREY EDWARDS

KUALA LUMPUR: Specialised dental care is no longer confined to government hospitals and will now be allowed under outpatient care at the community level, said Health Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Ismail Merican. 

“We will allow sub-speciality services for dental care at the community level and not necessarily at the hospitals only.  

“Dental care is now a necessity and people don’t mind paying for it,” he said on Friday after opening a dental care clinic in Sri Hartamas. 

He said there had been a debate last Wednesday at the ministry on whether specialised dental care should be concentrated in hospitals. 

“Now most medical specialists and sub-specialists are in the hospital. So, if there are clinics which can give specialised care, then we encourage that,” he added. 

On the establishment of adolescent wards at government hospitals, Dr Ismail said they would be set up as soon as possible, beginning in the urban areas. 

He said there was a question previously over whether adolescents should be treated by a paediatrician or another medical specialist. 

“But now the problem has been solved. We have made the decision to have adolescent wards and whoever have the qualifications can give the treatment, regardless of whether they are paediatricians or other medical specialists,” he added. 

It was reported yesterday that Malaysian Paediatric Association president Dr Nazeli Hamzah had said the Health Ministry had agreed in principle to look into establishing such wards, as teenagers were emotionally and mentally different from children and adults. 

Earlier in his speech, Dr Ismail said that with an increase in the aging population, diseases that affected oral health would become an increasingly important part of dental practice. 

“Similarly, we know periodontal infections have a strong correlation with systemic diseases like cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, and other diseases of affluence, which are becoming more prevalent than communicable diseases,” he added. 

He also said dentistry was moving into a new era of computers and technology where oral examinations were done with intra-oral cameras and digital radiography sensors, which allowed dental surgeons not only a more thorough examination but also digital recordings of the lesions.  

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