Orthodontists seek government partnership in awareness programme
As part of efforts to boost awareness on orthodontics and improve the management of the adult patients in the country, the Nigeria Association of Orthodontist (NAO) has kick started a nationwide campaign even as it seeks government’s partnership.Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that corrects teeth and jaws that are positioned improperly.
National Secretary of the Association, Dr. Nkiruka Folaranmi, at its 10th scientific conference and annual general meeting in Lagos, said: “We are only 41 registered orthodontists in Nigeria. Orthodontist as a specialty worldwide is one that has a lot of competition. First of all getting into the post-graduate training, it is quite expensive and competitive. Due to the demand of perseverance needed from the orthodontist, you need someone who is very calm and perseverance to go through your patients. If you are not a patient human being you cannot practice orthodontist, but we think that our young dentist should start looking into specialising in orthodontist because the work load is so much for the very few who are qualified.
“Orthodontist is just not about cosmetics. It also deals with disfiguration in patients that have facial anomalies like cleft lip and palate and other facial deformities. It is all about dealing with the physiology of the patient. It has direct effect on their self confident, they way they react socially. The problem with orthodontist is that they are very few and are only limited to the south, more specifically south west of the country. We need to be more equally distributed in the country.”
On the role of government, Folaranmi added: “The government has its hand filled up, that is the truth of the matter. I don’t think the orthodontist will be one of their courses. It is very important to draw up awareness. If the government wants to come in, the most important thing is to join hands with us and raise awareness on orthodontist and what it is all about.”
She continued: “The government can also come in by assisting us in training in the issue of orthodontist residency. It is finically consuming because orthodontist equipment can be costly. If we increase the number of orthodontist we produce, it can also help to increase the awareness. Government needs to focus on postgraduate training so that people will be interested the facilities will be available for proper training.”
She said that if the government is going to help, let them join hands with them and provide the assistance in raising awareness worldwide.Vice President of the Association, Dr. B. Ogunbanjo said that the number of patients seeking for the orthodontists has increased.
Ogunbanjo added: “Before, we have mainly the adolescent but now we have more and more adult patients seeking for orthodontist treatment for obvious reasons. Maybe when they were young they do not have the money or the facility or the awareness. It is important we look into that area to see how we can manage adult patients. It is quite different from that of the adolescent management based on behaviour. Globally the number of adult patient has increased by 25percent.
Orthodontist is not only about cosmetics but also to improve function. If you are not looking good it can affect you psychologically.”