Woman Says Her Unlicensed Dentist Turned Her Into A 'Monster'
When the dentist told Xu Feng that she needed 12 crowns, she believed him, and handed over the 1,200 pounds ($1,862). "Once the anesthetic wore off, I was in more pain than I could ever have imagined," Feng said. After dentists removed the faulty crowns, and healed the infections and abscesses that covered her gums, they discovered that Feng's unlicensed dentist had ground down her healthy teeth into stumps, reports the Daily Mail. Now when she opens her mouth, she says her one-year-old daughter cries.
Feng received her treatment in Chongqing city, central China. Unlicensed dentristry is a scourge in certain parts of Asia, and Fiji's Department of Immigration is currently investigating a Chinese couple who had been running an illegal dental surgery near the country's capital. "The council is urging the public to be mindful of such unscrupulous dentists and run background checks on them before seeking their services," Fiji's Ministry of Health said in a press release. "People must ask the name of the dentist who is to perform the procedures on them and also ask to see his or her registration certificate."
Unlicensed dentists have become so popular in Indonesia that the government passed a law last year, which took effect in April, to make their practice illegal. Many opposed the new regulation, however, saying it would make it impossible for many low income people to get dental treatment at all, since the country suffers a serious dentist shortage, and unlicensed practitioners often charge four to five times less, reports the Dental Tribune Asia Pacific.
An unregulated dental industry in Asia even affects the mouths of Americans. As of 2008, five percent of dental restorations were made in China. Dentists could buy them for $30 to $50 a pop, and then sell them to their patients for over a grand. A genius plan, except that some of those crowns were tainted with toxic levels of lead. After four incidences of lead poisoning, the U.S. National Association of Dental Laboratories was forced to issue a statement warning patients about the problem.
But none of these cases were as severe as what happened to Feng, who says she now looks like a "monster." "They stole my smile," she wept. Her lawyers are now in negotiations with the clinic, according to The Daily Mail.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin.
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