A group of dentists in Singapore are up in arms against the Singapore Dental Association (SDA) and have called for a Special General Meeting.

The issue at hand is over a new framework and certificate of competency (COC) which will mean that Singapore’s general practitioner dentists will need more training to certify that they are able to conduct procedures such as wisdom tooth extraction and insertion of braces.

A group of 50 dentists have called on the SDA to conduct a special general meeting to address their concerns.

Based on the constitution of the SDA, 50 members are required before an SGM can be called.

It is not known how many dentists are against the move to introduce the COCs and new framework but dentists TOC have managed to get in touch with, have said that there is a substantial number of dentists who are concerned over the handling of the issue by those in charge.

“It appears that engagement is the last step in policy making when it should be the very first step this process,” said a dentist who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The dentists also state that the proposed COCs and framework will mean that the members of the public may be made to pay more especially if simple procedures like wisdom tooth extraction are only conducted by specialists.

Another issue would be waiting times which will increase and also the confusion among members of the public over which dentist will be able to conduct what procedures.

In a response to Straits Times, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Singapore Dental Council (SDC) said in a joint statement that the moves are meant to allow “dentists to be further trained in these specific dental procedures and to be able to practice safely and competently without having to undergo specialist training.”

Both the MOH and SDC added that the decision on certification is backed by international benchmarks, patient concerns and complaints.”

No details and figures were provided by MOH and SDC in the ST report.

Coincidentally, local dental group Q&M dental group stated in an interview with ST on 2 May that it was setting up a private dental college in Singapore by the middle of this year.

The college wouldn’t provide degrees but would provide courses for graduate students.

This is similar to what it stated in its report to shareholders in its last annual report.

The company to run the college, Q & M College of Dentistry Pte Ltd, has been incorporated in December last year.

Coincidentally, the Aoxin Q&M dental group limited, a subsidiary company which is also registered in Singapore lists Professor Chew Chong Lin as an independent director.

Professor Chew Chong Lin is also the President of the Singapore Dental Council since 2009. SDC is the self-regulatory body for the dental professions constituted under the Dental Registration Act (Chapter 76).

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