Dental tools easy to get off the shelves

PETALING JAYA: It’s easy for fake dentists to pass off as real ones. After all, they have all the equipment that you would see in a regular dentist’s clinic.

And it is so easy to buy these equipment even though some may be classified as “controlled items”.

ALSO READ: Malaysians drill for answers over bogus dental practitioners

They can be found on the shelves of almost any hardware store.

The Dental Act 2018 lists a host of dental equipment that non-medical practitioners are barred from possessing.

These include dental chairs, dental cutting units (electric machine-powered tools such as drills), dental forceps, syringes, dental mirrors and probes.

Still, these equipment are openly being sold to the public.

The Star found that most of the items were not only being sold online but also in many hardware shops.“Not intended for medical use”, states the warning written behind a set of dental probes, mouth mirrors and tweezers that the reporter bought from a famous hardware store.

ALSO READ: The lure – and danger – of pearly white teeth

Cause for concern: It was found that most of the dental equipment were not only being sold online but also in many hardware shops. — YAP CHEE HONG/The StarCause for concern: It was found that most of the dental equipment were not only being sold online but also in many hardware shops. — YAP CHEE HONG/The Star

Those who wish to get these tools at cheaper prices can opt for international sellers, mostly from China, on various online marketplaces.

What’s worrying is the fact that some of these sellers are getting an encouraging number of buyers.

“Express, the goods arrived so fast, I am fully satisfied. I will repeat my order,” said one of the buyers in the review section.

Dr Iqbal Rosali, a member of the Medical Mythbusters Malaysia (Dental), warned the public against using uncertified dental products and equipment as safety is not guaranteed.

“We have no idea what materials are used in these dental products; we are also not sure if the equipment is of medical grade or if it can be sterilised,” he said.

Health Ministry Oral Health principal director Dr Noormi Othman expressed concern over the matter.

“I am worried because when I go to some hardware stores, I can find almost everything (dental equipment), even suture needles.

“Why are we allowing untrained individuals to take matters into their own hands and attempt to become ‘doctors’ at home?

“My concern is also the possibility of infection because these equipment are not sterilised,” Dr Noormi added.

The Dental Act 2018 states that “any person, other than a practitioner, a medical practitioner or a dealer in medical or dental equipment, appliance or instrument, who has in his possession any one or more equipment, appliance or instrument commonly used in the practice of dentistry, shall be deemed to be pretending to be registered under this Act”.

Dr Noormi said the ministry was now looking at ways to control the sale of dental equipment.

“We have to control the sale of dental equipment, especially online.

“The equipment should only be sold to those with valid practising certificates and if they are indeed practising,” she said.

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