Dental scams on the rise – Eye Witness News

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Local dentists warn fraudsters are conducting teeth cleaning and braces installation scams.

Registrar to The Bahamas Dental Council Dr. Sparkman Ferguson says that they have been keeping track of the issue over the past five years and in recent months dentists have noticed a number of patients coming in to get botched dental work corrected.

“We have people coming into real, legitimate dental offices complaining about the lack of results or complaining about instances where during the whitening procedures they get burned, they get their guns burned, and so they come with their complaints, and by complaining, we get to find out that they have been served by people who should not have been serving them,” he said.

Ferguson told Eyewitness News that they have been receiving complaints from people who fell victim to the scams; who are then strongly encouraged by the council to report the matters to the police. However, many of the complaints never get that far.

He adds that braces installations and adjustments are the most prevalent bad practice.

“Orthodontists, which are the braces specialists they see, most of them; and I can’t give you an exact number or statistical ds, but this is the majority of them are being seen,” he said.

Ferguson said he believes many of the persons getting illegitimate dentistry know that the dentist is not trained, and he encouraged those who are unsure to be more vigilant and offers advice on how to spot a phony dentist.

“Every patient has the right to ask at any facility to see licenses if people need to become that vigilant; and if they go into a place for service, they need to say, you know, show me your credentials […]

“You’d see an advertising somewhere, come whiten your teeth, it’s going to cost you one hundred dollars or whatever and you know right away that these are illegal operations because real dentists cannot advertise in this country.”

Ferguson says they have notified the authorities in the past about these ongoing scams, however, they are not satisfied with the results.

“The only way I think these illegal businesses are going to close down is if, you know, the law takes this course and begins to arrest people who are doing it, which seems to be very, very slow in coming […]

“We reached out to them in the last couple of months, but we reach out to them and, you know, our job is to give them the tips.

“If we give them the tips and they don’t act on them, then we have nothing else,  we have no other avenue to reach the police themselves,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson says the council is continuing to encourage members of the public to be aware of the dangers of illegitimate dentistry and admonishes people in need of dental care to seek assistance from licensed professionals.

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