Singapore

Dentist punished a fourth time by Singapore Dental Council after lapses in fitting boy with braces

A dentist has been suspended for four months and fined $10,000 for letting an oral health therapist fit braces on a boy.

Dr Sng Wee Hock, who owns and runs WH Dental Surgeons in Hougang, was also fined $8,000 for not keeping proper notes. He was cleared of a third charge of removing the 13-year-old's four wisdom teeth as well as four premolars.

In June 2015, the boy saw Dr Sng to have braces fitted. The dentist extracted eight teeth.

But after a year, during which the boy suffered constant pain and saw no improvement, he was taken to another dentist. This dentist said the braces had been fixed wrongly and it had not been necessary to extract the four wisdom teeth.

The father made a complaint to the Singapore Dental Council (SDC) against Dr Sng. A disciplinary committee was formed to hear it.

The prosecution claimed the removal of the wisdom teeth was both unnecessary and unacceptable because pulling out the four premolars would have been enough.

Two experts said it had been unnecessary to remove the four wisdom teeth. But only one said it was unacceptable. The other said he would have taken a different approach.

On the charge of not keeping proper notes, the prosecutor representing the SDC said they were "grossly inadequate" as they did not give details of the wires or brackets used, notes on the surgery or the amount of anaesthetics given to the boy.

He was also accused of letting an oral health therapist fit braces on the boy. The therapist said he had been tasked on several occasions by Dr Sng to put in separators and elastic bands for the boy's braces.

Dr Sng denied this, but the committee found the therapist's version "more credible". The therapist has been dealt with by the SDC for performing a procedure he was not licensed to and was suspended for three months in May.

This is the fourth time Dr Sng has been punished by the SDC. In all four cases, he was also censured, had to give a written undertaking not to reoffend and pay part or all of the costs of the hearings.

As he is still serving the 15-month suspension meted out in 2017, the four-month suspension will start when his current suspension ends.

MEDICAL & HEALTH