Saturday, February 02, 2013; Panjim, Goa: A comprehensive survey conducted by social forum SpeakGoa across the length and breadth of Goa has found several dentists and dental clinics with inadequately and ill-trained dentists offering advanced dental services in Goa and charging clients at their own whims and fancy. The survey was conducted among the beach areas of North and South Goa, particularly Candolim, Calangute, Baga and included the cities of Panaji, Margao, Ponda and Vasco. About 150 dentists were interviewed by SpeakGoa and it was found that several dentists who have a basic bacherlor’s or BDS qualification practice and offer implants and claim to be experts in implantology when they are not qualified to do so.
Most dentists interviewed by SpeakGoa preferred to speak off-record, however, a very senior dentist who has a doctorate in the subject, besides being a researcher and has been a faculty at the Goa Dental College said, “A dentist who is a BDS and took 8 years to complete her BDS (after failing 4 times) is now offering implants in the Candolim area at her clinic. A BDS is not trained to offer or do implants unless he or she does a comprehensive course or a post graduation in dentistry.” He came down heavily on “businessmen” running dental clinics in the beach belt of North Goaand even counseling patients. A senior official from the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry when informed by SpeakGoa about the situation which is also affecting tourists who are “conned” as the failure rate of implants increases greatly, said there was a meeting of senior doctors and dentists at the GCCI recently and they took up this issue of “ill-trained doctors, dentists and so-called cosmetic experts”. This is earning Goa a bad name abroad and Dental Tourism has come to a virtual standstill due to the problem of quacks and ill-trained doctors, he said.
In its survey and report on Medical Tourism in Goa, SpeakGoa found that Beauty Salons, Spas, Hair-Cutting Salons and others including GPs offering Botox services and other cosmetic surgery-related services in several parts of Goa when they are not qualified to do so. About 30 per cent of dentists in Goa are technically not qualified to offer or do implants but are still doing so, the SpeakGoa report claims. Director General of GCCI R S Kamat concurred that some salons are offering Botox treatment or even bust implants. “We have appealed to the government to formulate a regulation with respect to dental implants, Botox treatments etc and to lay down guidelines on what are the minimum qualifications for a professional required to offer services like dental implants or Botox treatments in the state. Says Prof. (Dr.) Aquaviva S. Fernandes, “Yes it is true that several dentists who are ill-trained and ill-qualified offering implants and other services. A dentist with a BDS – who may have taken years to pass his or her BDS starts practice and offers advanced treatment. Many of them are financed by businessmen who set up and finance clinics in the beach belt.”
Several dentists who spoke to SpeakGoa concurred with this trend which is growing particularly in the beach belts of Goa. Another senior dentist with about 20 years of practice in Goa said, “Besides ill-qualified dentists, there is the problem of quacks who come from other states and set up shop for a few peak months of the tourist season. The clinics are operated by business men and each year there is a new dentist practicing at the clinic.” The senior dentists called for a dedicated association to look into the matter and both self-regulation by the industry as well as government regulation on a war footing.