A DESCRIPTIVE SUMMARY OF UNLICENSED DENTAL PRACTICE
Despite the fines and action taken by authorities against illegal dental practise, it could not be eliminated and remain a threat to the public’s oral health. The aim of this study was to gather holistic evidence on unlicensed dental practice by collating news coverage, scientific research publications, and information on social media activities of illegal dental practitioners. Information on news coverage was collated via Google, Yahoo and Bing while information on research publications was obtained through three databases, Scopus, Pubmed and Google Scholar. Public data from Facebook and Instagram were extracted to gain information on illegal dental services actively provided. Out of 195 news reported regarding unlicensed dental practitioner, only 110 news reported on legal actions received with 81 news reports were on financial punishments, and the rest was on jail terms or probation. For scientific publications, only 13 related publications were found, and the majority were case reports. Despite having a law that stated an unlicensed dentist would be punished, there were more than 170 Facebook, and Instagram users with thousands of followers found actively offering illegal dental services to the public. In conclusion, not much attention was paid by the scientific community on illegal dental practice despite it being a significant public health issue and covered quite thoroughly in the news, and services are still actively offered through social media. This descriptive report helps give a holistic perspective on the illegal dental service providers issue, especially in Malaysia.
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