By Garfield L Angus
KINGSTON, Jamaica – The health authorities are moving to clamp down on unregulated and unhygienic dental practices, says chief dental officer in the ministry of health and wellness, Dr Irving McKenzie.
Noting that there is a major health problem with “false braces,” he said establishments operating outside the rules laid down by the Dental Council of Jamaica (DCJ), will have to comply with the law or have their businesses closed.
“We are working to fix it. We are working with the police; we have engaged the companies office of Jamaica, because many people have registered companies and they are not dentists, and we will be shutting down those companies,” he said, while addressing a recent oral health virtual town hall meeting.
He pointed out that public health officers are part of the drive, noting that “people’s lives are at risk” when people have all “kinds of things in your mouth that are not sterilised. You don’t know where these people come from, and they are unregulated”.
Stressing that the damage caused by the illegal operators has been noticed, the chief dental officer said prosecution is part of the clampdown, and if those in breach of the regulations are interested in dentistry, “we can guide them, because there is a way to do things right”.
He outlined that his office is very strong on public education to ensure that good dental practices are maintained, noting that sugar and poor oral hygiene are the two “major causes” of dental diseases in Jamaica.
Dr McKenzie said dental services are being expanded in the regional health authorities and in the hospitals, and that Jamaica is one of the leading countries offering oral services to every pregnant woman and adolescent girl, and screening for diabetes.
To ensure the delivery of dental services of the highest professional standards, and in keeping with best practices in dentistry, the Dental Council of Jamaica has mandated that, as in the case of dentists, all dental auxiliaries are required to obtain annual practising certificates and complete the requisite continuing education credits.