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UNILAG Laments Dearth of Orthodontists, Seeks Improved Dentistry Education

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The University of Lagos has lamented dearth of Orthodontists at the institution, stressing that there is only one orthodontist for about three million Nigerians.

A professor of Orthodontics, Oluwatosin Sanu, disclosed this during the UNILAG inaugural lecture series, titled, ‘Beyond the smile- Braces and health: What have braces got to do with health?’

Sanu explained that there was a need to strengthen orthodontics education and training at UNILAG and across the country, adding that there was a serious dearth of adequate equipment and consumables for the training of students.

“I will like to recommend that the two institutions the hospital and the university partner with captains of manufacturing industries to manufacture dental materials and equipment.

“There is only one Orthodontist to about three million Nigerians. In addition to the shortage, the issue of migration of health workers to other countries as a global phenomenon further compounds the situation. Long term solutions to shortages can only be found through substantial investment in training more orthodontists. The condition of service needs to improve to mitigate against migration,” she said.

She also recommended that there should be Improvement in infrastructures and consumable, provision of orthodontic screening at the University of Lagos Health Centre located in Akoka.

According to her, orthodontic treatment should be included in the health insurance scheme and care covered by insurance companies, dental healthcare should be considered as primary and given immediate attention,” she said.

Sanu in her lecture revealed that bad alignment of teeth and poor bite were collectively termed malocclusion.

“Malocussion is one of the three major oral diseases that affect human oral function, aesthetics, social interactions and health-related quality of life,” she explained.

She added that braces were used to align the teeth and close the gaps between upper and lower teeth which aid in restoring her speech and promoting mental health.

“Braces are wire-based tools, custom-made and individualised used to correct crooked or crowded teeth to get them straightened and to correct bad bites.”

In her remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, said, “She has made us come to the awareness of malocclusion, one of the three major oral diseases. Untreated malocclusion can cause pain and mental health. Braces are used to correct a wide array of malocclusion and quality of life is improved. Oluwatosin has done justice to the subject.

“She has successfully paid her debt to UNILAG. You are hereby discharged. I welcome you to the committee of professors that have paid their dues.”

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