Conflict of interest in dental hygiene and cosmetic dentistry

Ever wondered what is the primary role of your dentists when you visit their office? To me, I used to think that visiting the dentist would either mean extraction or filling when I was a kid. It’s a luxury to visit the dentist for regular clean up or check up in Malaysia. I guess I was poor. Toothbrush and paste was my guarantee for good dental hygiene.

I had a bad malocclusion and required orthodontic treatment. I had mine done at subsidised rate but had to be placed in a waiting list. I had mine done by three orthodontists. The first one was a male orthodontist who was frequently missing in action (MIA) and appointments were delayed. The second one was a female orthodontist who was very impatient and rough (I was always surprised by her crude way of treating me). I had on several occasions ended up with bleeding lips because she was so rough on the wires that the ends would accidentally cut deep into my lips. She was also the one who left two scratch marks on my molar that later deteriorated into cavities (after several years) by using her dental pliers with brute force during removal and re-fixing of the dental brackets. Suddenly one day, she left to work in private clinic without a word. The third was also a female orthodontist, and after the latest experience, she seemed way too gentle. She was the one who removed my braces.

Although my teeth was aligned, it had lost its function. The molars were not aligned as neatly as before, my jaws were way too inside my mouth as compared to previously. It’s noticeable when I try to bite an apple or something larger. The “backward pulling” of the jaws during the treatment was meant to align the teeth and also to close the four gaps (where four molars were extracted; e.g. two upper molars and two lower molars). The pull retracted my jaws into my mouth, and thus I have smaller jaws than previously.

Now back to my main purpose for this article.

When I approached the orthodontic clinic, my thought was to get a treatment to correct my misaligned teeth/jaw (aka malocclusion). But what the orthodontists were thinking was that “this patient” is here to get a “good looking” teeth. Good look over function? If you think about it, sometimes, dentists also play a role in (or provide) cosmetic dentistry treatment, e.g. dental implants, crowning, bridging, and among others. In my opinion, the latter treatments are mostly costly and surely will be more profit generating than that of patients coming in just to get their teeth cleaned. How then will this arrangement not provoke a sense of suspicion, especially considering that there is a direct conflict of interest? On one hand, dentists play a primary role in treating patients in order to preserve healthy teeth, while on the other hand, dentists gain profits from selling dental cosmetics. Put it simply, to have more patients with rotten teeth will be profitable as compared to have patients who have healthy teeth.

In my opinion, there shouldn’t be “amalgamation” of dental hygienist role with cosmetic dentistry. Dental hygienists should strive to preserve healthy teeth (full stop). They should profit by the sheer amount of patrons (what am I saying?). But I guess if that’s the case, there won’t be many dental hygienists, especially considering that the amount of time they spent on a patient would yield much lower in returns than cosmetic dentists earn from the same amount of time.

All in all, to me, visiting a dental clinic that also cater for cosmetic dentistry treatment sometimes make me uneasy, especially considering the conflict of interest involved. But I guess, any profession will have that one way or another. It all depends on professional ethics, and finding one dentist who are trustworthy is the best way to get a win-win situation. So, start making friends with dentists because you might need to visit them soon.

Just a thought.


Killing someone you loved, Oscar Pistorius, she had no chance to survive your shots

Oscar Pistorius will not be found guilty for murder (or premeditated murder) of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He was found (1) to act negligently when he fatally shot Steenkamp, and (2) acted hastily & with excessive force. Culpable homicide normally carries five years in South Africa.

Well, although Pistorius will escape the murder charge (normally 25 years behind bars), he won’t be able to commit the same atrocity again without raising red flags. That fact is consolation for the lost of life and the light sentence that will be meted out for the murder (whether intentional or not). It’s unfortunate that Steenkamp had to die the way she did. The killing was clearly not in self-defense and I can never accept/tolerate that (even though it’s classified as culpable homicide) especially considering that deadly weapon was used.

Steenkamp had no chance of surviving the shots (four shots were fired), even though prosecutors failed to prove that the shooting was premeditated. Just look at the toilet space (it’s a dead end that fit a person). To shoot four times around the middle of the door would be very likely to hit the intended target. If he had no intention to kill, he could have aimed up at the door and opened fire at the ceiling. It was rage with intention to kill when he fired those shots (rather than to warn/frighten). Well, that will be the last person he will be able to kill and get away with a light sentence.

Bathroom and toilet layout; the spot where Pistorius fired the four shots

Bathroom and toilet layout; the spot where Pistorius fired the four shots (Figures taken from

Sequence of events and the spot where Pistorius fired the four shots

Sequence of events and the spot where Pistorius fired the four shots. Figure taken from

I don’t know Oscar Pistorius really well to be bias against him. I’m writing this piece as reminder that although justice might be lenient at times, it does hamper murderers like Pistorius from repeating the offense. He could escape with lighter culpable homicide this time, but if he ever commit the same crime again, previous conviction will weigh in on him.

Just a thought.

Fw: Unruly passengers on board flights should be banned from flight

There should be a system whereby dangerous (by other definition) passengers should be banned from flight (or at least permitted to fly under certain circumstances and supervision). Here is an interest article pertaining to this topic (Unruly passengers on board flights should be banned from flight).

Feminism went overboard

What ever believe we hold on to, let it be in moderation. Be it religion, principle or thought, there isn’t any need to go overboard. Take for example, feminism. The main idea is for fair treatment of the sexes, where there shouldn’t be prejudice and inequality. The keyword is “inequality”. What we want to achieve is to abolish inequality that oppresses people, regardless of sex, age, race, or whatever form of injustice. However, fighting against inequality doesn’t equate to fighting for equality, because that would be absurd.

Men and women are not “equal” (or more accurately, “identical”). Children and adults are not identical. All the races in the world are not identical. There will be differences (and we should appreciate these differences) in us, and to fight to become equal is illogical.

Feminists (male or female members) who hold on to extreme idea of trying to close the gap that separates or distinguishes men and women (or boy and girl) is not doing justice. As Nature intended, we are different. Science clearly showed that our development is different, our mind is differently wired, and our physiology/physique is completely different. How then can we be equal? What we should be fighting for is to abolish inequality, injustice, and disrespect, but at the same time, we should also respect that we are different, because diversity is good.

Similarly, in marketing science, researchers never tire to study the differences between men and women, so as to effectively target their sales to them. Success in marketing depends on how accurate researchers can predict the response from targeted buyers, and hence it isn’t surprising that corporation can spend millions of dollar just to get the right formula. For example, colorful packaging with floral design is usually meant for girls not because company wants to demean them, but rather to get the best response. Furthermore, skin care products are formulated separately from men and women to reflect gender differences in skin, and not to segregate the sexes so as to stereotype them in bad lights.

As a side note, I do admit that there will always be half-baked marketing company that will come up with stupid, infuriating, and insensitive ideas for their product, e.g. nude models for Volkswagen car in China. The event organizer failed miserable to understand their market. No one in their healthy mind would want to drive their wife and daughter in a car that is so freaking insensitive and disrespectful to women!

Well, I say, keep on fighting against inequality and injustice. But please do it in the right way because it is not mentally healthy to be oversensitive (or over-zealous) all the time. Most important, being a prick could inadvertently hurt the wrong people.

Lastly, I do support the struggle of feminism, and I stand by the ideology, but what I will not tolerate is for zealots to ruin the main intention of the movement. Similarly, brainless zealots are the ones who turned beautiful religion into terror. That should never be condoned.

Just a thought.

Fw: Be gracious, there is no entitlement in Singapore

Hi, I just wanted to share an article with the above title.

Here is the link to¬†Be gracious, there is no entitlement in Singapore. I have seen many people, even the elderly forgetting the basic needs to interact with other people (which is respect). Sad to see that there are nasty elders who failed to know karma. I guess sometimes, age doesn’t really improve a person’s wisdom and tone down their nastiness.

Just a thought.

I don’t entirely blame MAS airline or Malaysia for MH370 crisis

The biggest problem that is faced by Malaysia and families of crews and travellers on the missing MH370 plane is knowing the whereabouts of the plane. The problem? The transponder might have been switched off! That is the main factor that hampered effort of several countries who chipped in to help with the search and rescue. How I felt knowing that transponders and ELTs could be manually turned off? Flabbergasted!

I blame air plane manufacturers for allowing captains/pilots to have the access to turn off transponders at their discretion (if not whims; read about manual override of transponder and ELT). If the rationale was to allow plane to go invisible for safety reason (esp. during time of war), how frequent is that an advantage in normal times? See what it has caused us in MH370 case (if indeed the plane was hijacked). That is a big negligence in the manufacturers’ part for providing a loop-hole for hijackers to steal.

Good or bad neighbor?

My neighbor brought an old couple as guest to her home for dinner, we met and we were introduced. An unexpected side-question was uttered by the husband of the couple, “is he a good neighbor”?

My embarrassed neighbor answer promptly saying good things about me and my family who lived just next door.

The next question directed to me blew me off my feet, “are you local or foreigner”?


I’m flabbergasted.