‘Street dentists as many in number as qualified ones’


The unchecked spread of fatal diseases across the country puts a question mark over the performance of the health authorities, it was observed on the last day of the three-day 10th International and 30th National Dental Congress organised by the Pakistan Dental Association (PDA) at the Expo Centre on Sunday. Expressing their views on the topic “Preventive Dentistry”, dentists said health authorities are reluctant to address the menace and consequently the business is flourishing leaps and bounds. The theme of the congress was “A New Dental Era”. The objective was to acquaint modern research and information in dentistry carried out across the world. As many as 3000 local and foreign delegates visited to the congress while 182 stalls were displayed in it. The congress provided a great opportunity for budding dentists to interact with the foreign delegates. The event turned out to be an ideal forum to assess the dental needs of the upcoming generation. The congress also attracted a large number of general practitioners academicians and allied professionals. It consisted of the state of the art scientific sessions and hands on workshops with leading international and national speakers confirming their participation. Internationally recognised prominent speakers from all fields of dentistry were invited to the county while there were more than 80 speakers in total. Prof. Ayyaz Ali Khan gave a presentation on Understanding the Importance of Prevention through New Era, Prof Dr Amynah Tariq on Osteoporosis Screening – Role of dental surgeons, Dr Akhtar Hussain Bokhari on Influence of Periodontal Diseases on Systemic Inflammatory Mediators, Dr Ambrina Qureshi on New Curriculum Framework for Preventive Dentistry in Pakistan, Dr Sobia Bilal on Preventing Disability: through promotion of Health-Related Quality of Life in Head and Neck Oncology, Dr Afshan Khan on Review of Economic Evaluations of Dental Caries Prevention Programmes and Dr Kefi Iqbal on Performance of Glass Ionomer Cement in Preventive Dentistry Based on Variation in Powder/Liquid Ratio. The speakers said quack dentists were not equipped to treat patients. “They use unclean and unsterilised tools that cause infection,” they observed. “We often receive many dental cases that were spoiled by street dentists. These people were a cause of spreading hepatitis B and C due to a lack of hygiene and sterilisation in their treatment techniques,” they added. The health experts acknowledged that the treatment of dental diseases cost people the earth which is why they tend to quack and street dentists at the cost of their health from where they get gifts of other diseases. “The mouth is the gateway of all intakes and the entire body’s health is interlinked with the oral health,” they noted. The session was chaired by Dr Inayatullah Padhyar, Prof Ayyaz Ali Khan was the co- chairman and Dr Ambrina Qureshi the secretary. Later, Patron PDA Mahmood Shah told journalists that there are 13,000 qualified dentists in the country while it is pathetic that the number of quack dentists is also the same. He was of the view that the process of distribution of dentists is wrong in entire country as in big cities dental are easily available, however, in rural area one barely finds qualified dentist. Citing an example, he said if there is one dentist for 4,000 people in Karachi, there will hardly be one dentist for 100,000 people in rural areas. Shah said the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council has not taken any pragmatic steps to curb the menace of quack dentistry. “It comes up with a very implausible argument that there is nothing to take action against quacks in law, however, the council may take action against qualified doctors according to law on false doing,” he added.