‘Braces from unlicensed dentists can be harmful’

National 2 minutes, 47 seconds


CHOOSING an unlicensed dentist as a cheap alternative for fitting braces could have long-term detrimental effects on your oral health, a health expert warned.

In an interview with The Brunei Times, Dr James Sunny P, a consultant orthodontist at Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC), strongly advised people against using the do-it-yourself method in light of recent cases of patients getting fake braces from an unlicensed dental service.

The public should know about the long-term implications for choosing to receive services from unlicensed dentists, he said.

“Fake braces have been available in neighbouring countries like Thailand and Indonesia. The trend has been rising for around five to eight years. It’s been (going on) there. But definitely as an orthodontist, I say no to it because it does cause harm to the surrounding structures of the gum,” said Dr Sunny.

He said the public should be aware of the harmful effects of using such braces from unauthorised people as illegal braces don’t “just stick” to the teeth but also add pressure to the teeth, which leads to bone loss.

“I think the public doesn’t know how teeth move. They just feel that braces are stuck on your teeth and that’s it. (Illegal braces) damage the bone around the tooth. It can actually cause a tooth to be lost. It can cause a tooth to erupt all the way out of its socket,” said Dr Sunny.

He said orthodontists use materials for braces and dental appliances that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration compared with uncertified dental services, which might not be using the right materials.

“When you get cheap deals, it may not have been approved, and it can cause irritation to the lips and cheeks. It’s a definite no. It may be cheap, but it can be catastrophic for the user in the long term,” said Dr Sunny.

The cost range for braces can vary greatly for each type. For example, metal braces can cost up to $4,000 depending on the case, said Dr Sunny, adding that JPMC has made it more financially friendly, making it more affordable for people.

“We have payment plans where people can pay by installments,” he said.

Dr Sunny added that the duration of braces treatment depends on individuals and cases. It may take longer for adults than it does for children. The average adult, he said, wears braces for around one-and-a-half to two years and sometimes three years.

In May this year, 29-year-old Hayimmah Bahri was sentenced to 12 months in prison after pleading guilty to practicing dentistry without a license.

The woman, who is a permanent resident, had used social media to advertise her illegal services where she was able to treat patients between late 2012 and April 2014.

She had charged between $250 and $450 for fitting braces and an additional $15 to $30 for each subsequent monthly appointment.

As a result, over 20 of her former patients had themselves examined at the Dental Services Department of the Ministry of Health after experiencing side effects from the procedure such as pain from decayed teeth and gum disease.

The prosecution said Hayimmah’s methods had posed a danger to the public as fixing fake braces on people in unconventional settings called into question the nature of the instruments and disinfection protocols used by her. – Additional reporting by Izzati Jalil

The Brunei Times