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Oral Health

Question 1

I have a teenage son who is 22 years old and have a rare dental problem that detriment his appearance. Should he wears braces or  try any other methods?

Answer 1

Orthodontic treatment for tooth depends on the diagnosis.  Your son’s condition may be caused by the following:

  1. Small size teeth.
  2. Teeth that were extracted or congenitally absent
  3. Periodontal  or gum disease.
  4. The position of the soft tissues that are too low exposing spaces between the front teeth.

Dental braces can be used to treat the cases of (1) and (2) only. Case (3) should be treated by a Periodontal Specialist before referring to the Orthodontist for treatment by dental braces. Case (4) should be treated by a Pediatric/Oral Surgeon first.

The best way for you is to bring your son to a  dental clinic for check-ups and seek advice pertaining to your son’s problem. Thank you.

Question 2

Does the government dental clinic offer orthodontic treatment to adult or secondary school leavers?

How do I go about getting orthodontic treatment if I have crooked teeth? Is there a waiting list to get treatment?

How much does orthodontic treatment cost in the government dental clinics?

Answer 2

The government dental clinics of the Ministry of Health offers orthodontic treatment to school children under the age of 18 years as they are the priority group. This group of children will be screened / assessed thoroughly to determine their orthodontic treatment needs and priority. Children with high priority of treatment needs will be treated on an urgent basis. However, those with moderate treatment needs are placed into the waiting lists. Mild or minor aesthetic problems are sometimes excluded for orthodontic treatment in the government service.

In the government dental clinics, a waiting list exists due to many reasons:

  • The demand for orthodontic treatment exceeds the supply of orthodontists in the Ministry of Health.

  • There is a shortage of orthodontists in Ministry of Health, Malaysia.

  • Treatment is time consuming and can take 2 years or more. Patients need to attend their appointments regularly on 6-8 weekly intervals for an average span of 2 years. This is different from other types of dental treatment which may require only 1-2 visits to be completed.

In view of this, new patients may need to wait for their turn before active orthodontic treatment can be commenced.

A prospective patient may seek orthodontic treatment by attending a dental clinic appointment with a general dentist. Then, the dentist will carry out an assessment of your teeth and if necessary, further investigations with x-rays may be required. The patient will then be referred to the Orthodontist once certain set criteria are fulfilled. The criterion of need is based on the internationally recognised Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN), minor irregularities are excluded. A referral letter to the Orthodontist will be given to the patient.

Although the priority of the government dental service is to treat patients who are 18 years and below, some adult patients with severe problems, notably those requiring jaw surgery or multidisciplinary management may still be considered for orthodontic treatment in the government clinics. However, the government clinics do not normally accept routine orthodontic cases for treatment and in the majority of cases adult orthodontics are carried out in the private practice.

The cost for treatment (without surgery) is RM 700.

  For further information, please visit your nearest dental clinic.

 

Last reviewed: 12 September 2012

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