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THE Health Ministry (MOH) received a total of 528 complaints on illegal dental practitioners throughout the country from 2017 to 2021.
MOH dental health senior director Dr Noormi Othman said of these complaints, 377 (71.4%) involved fake braces; 58 (11%) involve dental veneers (crowns) and 93 (19.6%) involve dentures, tooth extraction and teeth whitening.
“The number of complaints rose between 2017 and 2019 but decreased during the 2020-2021 period. The drop might be due to increasing public awareness of bogus dentists or enforcement of the movement control order (PKP), which restricted their activities.
“However, we are concerned that the transition to the endemic phase will see their activities rising again,” she told reporters, adding that Kuala Lumpur and Selangor recorded the highest number of complaints.
Earlier, Dr Noormi launched the Say No To Fake Dentist! 2022 campaign, organised by the dental health division of the Terengganu Health Department at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu today, with department director, Dr Kasemani Embong present.
Dr Noormi said in Terengganu, seven fake dentist cases were recorded from 2014 to 2021, where the guilty parties were charged under Section 4(1) of the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1988 (Act 586) and sentenced under Section 5(1)(a)(i) of the same act, which carries a fine of up to RM300,000, imprisonment not exceeding six years, or both.
She said most fake dentists are women aged 20 to 30, made up of citizens and non-citizens.
“These people, who advertise their dental services openly on social media, operate at various locations including hotels, private homes and boarding houses to evade detection by the authorities.
“Most customers who came for braces, veneers and teeth whitening were youth and teenagers while adults and senior citizens sought tooth extraction and dentures.
“The fees charged were cheaper, for example, from RM200 to RM600 for braces, which is much lower than that set by a certified dental practitioner at a private clinic. However, we cannot make a comparison as the dental treatment at private clinics includes regular follow-ups and such,” she said.
Dr Noormi said MOH also believes several bogus dentists made their clients sign an agreement not to disclose their treatments.
“Therefore, we are asking those who had signed such a contract to come forward with information to facilitate our investigation and not to worry, as their identities will not be revealed,” she said. – Bernama, June 29, 2022.