Association: Untrained dental work poses great danger

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 11 Oct 2017

KUALA LUMPUR: Up to 85% of victims who had braces done by untrained or illegal orthodontists suffered irreversible damage, says the Malaysian Association of Orthodontists.

It is concerned that the number of such patients developing complications is increasing, and has urged the Health Ministry to intervene.

Its president Dr Noraini Alwi said that such complications could result in loss of teeth or permanent damage to gums and jawbone.

Victims are also at risk of contracting HIV, Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C, she said.

“Most problems go undetected because they are asymptomatic until the patients’ periodontal problems worsen or reach the end stage,” she said.

Dr Noraini said that those who are not orthodontists and not properly trained, or qualified and accredited, would not know how to manage orthodontic cases holistically.

“They may not know what braces to use, the underlying dental and skeletal problems, the distance the teeth can be moved, the direction of movement or how much force is needed to move them,” she said.

She said the association recorded at least 10 cases of botched braces every year and the number has increased in the last two years.

The number of cases is actually higher because some patients did not want their cases recorded and so are not in the database compiled by the association, she added.

Dr Noraini stressed that orthodontic treatment is not just about sticking metal brackets onto teeth. It involves comprehensive diagnoses, intricate treatment plans and complex tooth movements.

“To be a specialist, a dentist needs to undergo an additional three years of intensive hands-on clinical courses, combined with research (four years in Malaysia) and must pass a very stringent examination-based assessment.

“It definitely cannot be learnt from YouTube, over a weekend or through short courses,” she added.

Last week, Nur Farahanis Ezatty Adli, 20, was released from prison after serving only six days out of a six-month jail term for failing to pay a court fine of RM70,000.

She was fined by the Melaka Sessions Court on Sept 29 for running a private unregistered dental clinic, which contravened Section 27 of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998.

The Malaysian Muslim Consumers’ Association (PPIM) and Malaysia Islamic Economic Activist Organisation, which learned of her case through the media, reportedly raised funds to help her pay the fine but PPIM has since denied this.

Dr Noraini said that anyone supporting such a perpetrator was sending the wrong message to the public – that it is okay to break the law, cause harm, cheat others and lie while putting people, who could suffer severely, at risk.

Concerned about the increase in such cases over the years, Dr Noraini urged the Health Ministry to draft a new Dental Bill and to set up a Dental Specialist Register.

She said the public can visit her association’s website at for more information on orthodontics as well as a list of qualified and accredited specialists in the country.

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