Quacks are present in almost every field of health and Dentistry is not an exception. Although the overall dental population ratio is 1: 10,000 in India, yet one dentist is serving 2.5 lakhs of people in the rural areas at present.
Merely 15-20% of the population is able to avail dental services through National schemes and the remaining 80-85% has to spend money from their pockets to avail dental services thereby providing an ideal breeding ground for Quackery in this field.
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Dental Quackery: Introduction
Quackery has been defined the use of false or unproven methods to earn profit – it has long been a scourge of humanity.
Quackery has been defined as the deceitful misrepresentation of one’s competence and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of a disease or the results to be achieved by the treatment offered.
Quackery results when there is a lack of trained and competent practitioners or when there charges are ‘too high’ for the common people to approach them.
Dental Quacks serve as a big threat for the population as they do not possess adequate knowledge and use the tools of incompetence and fraud.
Dental Quacks cater to the needs of lower middle and poor sections of the society who cannot afford qualified dental professionals.
Half-educated or illiterate people easily fall prey to these quacks since they offer treatment at very low prices.
Majority of the dental quacks learn some quick techniques while working as an Assistant in dental clinics and acquire only a meagre knowledge by simple observation with no knowledge of the scientific procedures.
Then, they start off their own practice in the rural areas at low cost and without using technology and modalities.
Why People fall prey to Dental Quacks?
There are manifold reasons why people easily fall prey to Dental quacks.
Some of the reasons are listed below:
- High cost of Dental Treatment
- Lack of Awareness
- Poor Accessibility to Dental Clinics
- Repeated Dental Appointments
- Immediate Treatment
Dentistry is not a part of any National Health Program owing to which there is a lack of awareness, especially among the rural masses regarding the importance of Oral Health.
Further, there are problems associated with the accessibility of Dental services owing to the absence of primary health care approach in dentistry.
Why Dental Quackery is Prevalent in India?
When the proportion of Dental Professionals in the private sector is more in comparison to public sector which offers subsidized services, financial affordability emerges as the biggest hurdle in High-Quality Treatment. People who cannot afford High quality treatment go to cheap unregistered dental practitioners.
Street Dentistry is a form of Quackery which is highly prevalent in the remote and rural areas of India.
How Dental Quackery is affecting Dentistry in India?
This unethical and harmful practice has diminished people’s confidence in Science, Medicine and Dentistry distorting science and public health and feeding degeneration in professional ethics.
There is a dearth of research on the number of dental quacks in the country, nonetheless, the unqualified dental practitioners have been registered in the Part B of the DCI.
As per a published report, there are nearly 2500-3000 quacks practicing dentistry in Delhi alone.
How Quackery is Affecting Public Health?
Dental Quacks are least concerned about sterilization of their instruments and devise their own instruments as per their convenience which has no scientific basis.
They use modified old instruments and the Instruments are also not autoclaved.
They perform the following procedures:
- Extraction of teeth using Screwdrivers and Pliers
- Restoration using self-curing acrylic
- Self- curing acrylic resin in embrasure area for splinting
- Using wires in removable partial denture and fixing them with adjacent teeth
- Using suction discs for denture retention
- Incorrect administration of Local Anaesthesia. At times, alcohol is administered in order to reduce pain sensation
- Leaving remnants of tooth roots after Extraction
These non-medical and unethical practices lead to deterioration of oral health of the patients such as erosion of the palatal mucosa due to placement of suction device and erosion of gingiva due to acrylic restoration.
These practices also result in transmission of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B among the patients.
How to Curb this Malpractice?
The Government and DCI must frame a strong policy to curb this malpractice in the country. The Government must include Dentistry as a part of the National Health Program in order to raise awareness about the importance of oral health among the masses.
Government should encourage Dentists to set up their clinics in rural areas and provide lucrative incentives to them.
Interns should be mandatorily posted in the rural areas for a period of three to six months in order to aid millions of deprived people.
Government should take initiative to identify the quacks and strict punishment must be levied on them.
More and more dental clinics must be set up in the rural areas to help rural masses.
We hope that this information would surely enlighten you with the Evils associated with Quackery.
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