PETALING JAYA: Illegal operators carrying out orthodontic treatments have been going on for a number of years despite complaints brought to the attention of the authorities, said the Malaysian Association of Orthodontists (MAO).
Its president Dr Noraini Alwi said the association has been raising this issue with the Malaysian Dental Council (MDC) and the Health Ministry (MOH).
Dr Noraini also lamented that these illegal operators are getting more daring and blatantly advertising themselves on social media.
“In August, I led my executive committee members on a visit to the Oral Health Division in MOH and the MDC to bring up these issues, amongst others, for them to take action as the largely unaware public were at risk.
“To date, the MDC has taken action against a few but that is not even touching the tip of the iceberg,” Dr Noraini.
She said the association is in the midst of compiling a database on the number of complaints orthodontists received from patients who had suffered botched procedures.
Dr Noraini said MAO members have received more than 20 cases since January.
“These people came to see us only because they knew that things were not right and were fearful of what would happen to their teeth.
“From those whom we had seen, we were informed that these patients had been threatened by these ‘providers’ not to spill the beans or they would get into trouble, if they do so. So a majority of them kept mum.
“If these victims were not willing to file a complaint with the MDC, there was little we could do,” she added.
Dr Noraini said those braces that came from dubious sources must be avoided, adding that braces should only be fitted by specialist orthodontists.
Deputy director-general Datuk S. Jeyaindran said there were many such cases posting their services online and the Health Ministry does come down hard on them.
Each time they received information on such illegal activities, the officers would haul them up.
He said that taking the culprits to the MDC was a laborious process as the ministry needed to ensure justice was carried out properly.