THE FAKE DENTIST
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A young “youtube dentist” was charged on committing the offence of providing dental braces fitting service on 27th April 2016 10.05 pm at Hotel Permai, Jalan Sultan Mahmud, Kuala Terengganu. This bride-to-be was fined RM25,000 by the Sessions Court yesterday for providing illegal dental service in a hotel. She claimed that she has learned on how to perform the procedure to fix the braces by watching YouTube's video and also through her friends.
Nowadays, people wish to get prettier and have a good looking appearance as well as a nice smile. Straight sparkling teeth and a bright smile are now becoming more demanding. Teenagers wearing fake train tracks glued to their teeth as a symbol of status, wealth and style - despite the fashion fad being blamed for the deaths of at least two youngsters reported in Thailand few years back.
Fake braces (also known as 'REAL BRACES') are made from a piece of wire with brackets that are glued/cemented to the wearer's teeth. The braces support multicolored rubber bands, and the "brackets" are often small plastic or metal shapes fashioned after Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse icons. Unlike real braces, these are fitted personally by the wearer, by local beauty salons and by unauthorized street vendors for a price as low as RM500.
So what’s wrong with the Fake braces?
Braces treatment is not as easy as gluing the brackets and wires on the teeth. We need to understand the science behind it. Our teeth are supported by gums and bone surrounding it. To move the teeth, we have to apply a certain amount of force to allow the supporting bone to undergo remodeling. Improper or too much forces applied to the teeth may injure the teeth and bone. The worst is that your teeth will be pulled out by the braces! Before your dentist fix the braces, they will have to take some records (including photos, models, and radiographic images) to identify your problem. After which they will come out with proper treatment plan. Other complications from the fake braces are uncontrolled teeth movement, loss of teeth, caries (decay teeth), swollen pus-filled gums and eventually harming your overall health. Besides pain which you might be getting from dental caries, you might be facing with significant health and safety challenges.
Another major risk to the wearers is that the braces can slip into their throat during fitting. The metals used in the fake braces may contain lead(which is toxic to the wearer's body system), and fake braces may also lead to mouth sores which can later become infected. The glue used to attach the brackets to the teeth can cause discoloration and tooth decay.
Beware, there are many more FAKE dental services out there.
There are many other treatments provided by non-dental professionals. Here are a few examples of advertisement posted on social media:
1. Cosmetic Whitening by beauty centers
Many beauty centers are now offering teeth whitening services too. The price offering is very attractive (only RM180 from the example here). But what would go wrong with these illegal services? Teeth whitening procedures is not as simple as applying whitening gel on teeth. There are many reasons of teeth discoloration. Whitening gel treatment can remove the superficial staining due to our daily food and drinks intake. However, some yellowish, grayish, or dark teeth cannot get brightened by this method. Without understanding the reason of discoloration, the beautician tends to apply more cycles or higher concentration in order to achieve satisfactory result. As a result, your teeth might get damaged (very painful or sensitive) and yet the teeth are still discolored.
Moreover, the whitening gel used for professional whitening is a very dangerous chemical, which will cause teeth sensitivity, and gums get burnt too if it is not carried out properly.
2. Trainer aligner/ Miracle Braces selling at social media
What is trainer aligner? These trainer aligners are actually prescribed by dentist to young patients to correct the patients’ teeth problem caused by their bad habits (such as mouth breathing, thumb sucking, wrong tongue positioning), and most of time need to combine with fixed braces treatment too for better final outcome. But recently, this “MIRACLE BRACES” has gone viral on social media and sold by unlicensed/untrained person. But does it work? Yes, it does help to correct your misaligned teeth if your teeth problem is due to habit. But most of the time it is not enough to correct your problem. You need to consult your dentist to check if you are suitable for this treatment. Remember, do not buy the trainer yourself through the online seller, they don’t know what’s wrong with your teeth, and they don’t know the science of how it works to correct your teeth problem. The so called "before-and-after" picture shown in their advertisement are fake photos. Those photos were taken from google, and those patients in the photos are actually treated by professional braces treatment. So, please don’t be tricked by all these false marketing tactics.
3. Cosmetic Veneer (3D,4D, 6D tooth treatment?)
Recently, these cosmetic 3D, 4D, or 6D ceramic teeth veneer or crown are getting popular, just like the FAKE braces. The example below is the crown done by beautician, worse they even start teaching other beautician to do ceramic veneer and crown!
Ceramic teeth(veneer and crown ) help to whiten your tooth, change its shape, or even able to close the tiny gap between your front teeth. There are many online store where you can get your Fake veneer, but are they the same as professional veneer? NO! Those veneers are just temporary veneer, if they glued for too long time, you would not be ableto clean, and floss them. As a consequence, your gums would start to swell and bleed. Teeth will start to decay and become painful! All these beauticians are not trained and licensed to do so. You need to see dentist for this treatment.
4. False teeth (Fixed denture)
Personally, I’ve seen quite a few patients that came to me with the denture teeth fixed by Fake Dentist. (also called, TUKANG GIGI CINA) from China. Those unlicensed street dentist came to their house and told them he can “plant teeth” (implant) , and it is very cheap! You only need to pay less than RM 1000 to get your full mouth implant! But, wait how’s that possible?
The Tukang Gigi use false teeth adding wire, and denture plastic material to fix permanently the false teeth on the adjacent teeth And you can’t take it out. SO, how do you brush them? Can you imagine how dirty and uncomfortable is it to get food debris stuck under the denture and your cannot clean them?! After some time, the gums get very seriously infected and swollen. The teeth start getting loose and a terrible foul mouth odor (smell like the kitchen waste you left for years!!) will happen. Most of the case, we will have to take out all of the neighboring teeth together with FAKE implant.
5. Street Dental Treatment including drilling, filling, and pulling out teeth!
The street dentist just set up their work station at roadside, pasar malam, and some even go to your house to service your teeth. Can you imagine how dangerous it is? Especially the infection control. Infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis can be transmitted through blood and even saliva. The equipment they used are not sterilized! They can use one forcep to pull out one customer’s teeth, and use the same forcep to extract your teeth. Are you still daring enough to try?
All these treatments are very harmful and dangerous to your teeth and health. But why do people still choose to go for such treatments? The reason is “ the money problem”. The proper dental treatment fee costs so much more than those treatment charged by FAKE DENTISTS. For example, the whitening treatment provided by a beauty center is only around RM 188, as compared to a professional dental whitening which is around RM1000+. Obviously the RM188 is more eye-catchy than the RM1000+. Our people love cheap stuff , and want to save money especially during the economy crisis. This is clearly seen at the crowd in shopping centers during the year end mega sales season. But one very important thing we must know, buying shirts is not the same as buying your health. Your health and wellness is not cheap, do not risk them by trying to get the cheaper option.
Is our dental treatment cost really too expensive to afford by the public? Malaysia is famous with the cheapest dental fee in our dental industry globally, a lots of travelers came to Malaysia for dental treatment because of the cheaper price. So, our dental treatment fee are actually not very expensive as compared to other country! Our neighbor for example, the cost is about 8000SGD for braces treatment, and you can get it at only RM 5000 in Malaysia (which is about 1600+SGD).
Dental materials and instruments are constantly being developed. More and more better and modern approach of treatment has become available in other country, but we Malaysians are far left behind. Why? Are our dentists in Malaysia not good in quality? They don’t update themselves? No, I can tell you, Malaysia has a lot of good quality dentist. Good quality material and equipment cost a lot to us, and IF we use those good quality materials and equipment to provide better quality treatment to our customer, and charge more, we will always get the complaint like this: “Dr, why is your treatment so expensive? I did one filling at next door only costs ten ringgit. Can you discount for me ah?” The “CHEAP” mind is the problem again. This seriously affects the good dentist who is trying to provide good service. Am I right? Many dentist will think, why should we use such a quality material or provide such quality services, since our public only want something cheaper. Some of the dentist will have to give up to this by providing lower standard of care and charge cheaper to sustain their business, but there are exceptions to those who are still trying to give the best services to the public. But we sincerely hope that the “cheap” mindset does not demotivate this group of dentists to keep providing the best international level of dental health services to the public.
Your Health is very Valuable, they are not “cheap”. Do not risk yourself or your own personal health and wellness by trying out those FAKE treatment. Remember this, “DO NO HARM to your health”. You can get cheap shirt, shoes, bag, but not for your health. Cheap is cheap, but who is going to bear the cost when something goes wrong?
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