A file picture showing fake braces. Scams and scammers come in all shapes and sizes, and they can destroy people’s lives.

ON behalf of the Malaysian Association of Orthodontists (MAO), a non-governmental organisation comprising qualified and accredited specialist orthodontists, I am writing to express our deep concern about the action taken by the Malaysian Muslim Consumers’ Association (PPIM) and other donors who helped settle Nur Farahanis Ezatty Adli’s RM70,000 court fine for operating an unregistered private dental clinic.

PPIM was quoted by the media as saying that Nur Farahanis “was merely helping to fix simple braces on her friends based on her own experience learnt from YouTube”. This is alarming and sends the wrong message to the people who are often unaware of the difference between a specialist orthodontist, a dentist and a layman providing dental services.

That comment implies that it is totally acceptable for such procedures to be carried out by anyone who is “intelligent” on anyone willing or unsuspecting, and that such procedures are “simple” as they can be “learnt from YouTube”.

We would like to caution that orthodontics is highly specialised.

It requires at least another three years of full-time postgraduate study overseas (four years in recognised universities in Malaysia) in a highly competitive and difficult course with limited seats annually and a passing rate of about 50 per cent after one has graduated as a dental surgeon (five-year course) in a recognised institution of higher learning.

There are three public universities in Malaysia which offer the course and places are limited — only the cream of the crop are accepted.

MAO has 200 members and represents 97 per cent of the specialist orthodontists in Malaysia — 180 are fully qualified and accredited members and 20 are postgraduate members who fulfil the stringent criteria of membership.

Of the number, 25 per cent serve in the Health Ministry, five per cent in the Defence Ministry, 10 per cent in the Higher Education Ministry and the balance in private practice.

More than 85 per cent of our members are graduates and fellows or members of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons of the United Kingdom.

As postgraduates, all specialist orthodontists are required to undergo an intensive three-year full-time hands-on clinical course, which is examination-based combined with research in various subspecialties of orthodontics to obtain a master’s in science (orthodontics).

They are also required to sit the examination of one of the UK’s Royal Colleges of Surgeons.

Scams and scammers come in all shapes and sizes, and they can destroy lives. It is our sacred duty as medical professionals to ensure the safety of the public.

MAO strongly advises the public not to be duped by such illegal practices. See a legitimate dental practitioner for your dental needs.

Visit www.mao.org.my for more information on orthodontics and a listing of our specialist orthodontist members in the country.

Dr Noraini Alwi

Malaysian Association of
Orthodontists president

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