Dr Mehmood A Khwaja
Published Date: Oct 22, 2013
Safe dental practice
It is reported in some studies that numerous dental clinics and dental hospitals in Pakistan have staff
that does not usually have professional education
or training about dental amalgam used in operative dentistry and health hazards from mercury exposure. Follow up the Sustainable
Development Policy Institute (SDPI) study on mercury contamination in air at
dental sites in five cities of Pakistan, a recent review of the three sets of
curriculum approved by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council (PMDC), the
Higher Education Commission (HEC) and University of Health Sciences (UHS), followed at dental teaching institutions in the country, has
revealed absence of topics related to mercury exposure, environmentally-sound
use of mercury/mercury amalgam and management of mercury wastes.
There is also a dire need to teach and train upcoming professional dentists in non-mercury-based dental
fillings, encapsulated and mechanical mixing methodologies, besides health
hazards to dental staff arising from prolonged and continuous mercury exposure.
It is most strongly recommended to the PMDC, HEC and UHS to review and revise
their curriculum/syllabus for dental teaching institutions in the country by
including the above and other relevant topics for safeguarding public health
with best possible service options and practices.
The Minamata Convention on mercury adopted by over 140 states and already
signed by over 90 countries, including Pakistan, recently in Kumamoto, Japan,
also encourages parties to phase down the use of dental amalgam and encourage education and training to dental
professionals and students on the use of mercury-free dental restoration
alternatives and on promoting best management practices.