Basic Information on Dentistry in Nigeria

NigeriaGood oral health is essential for the well-being of any individual. In Nigeria, there are numerous qualified oral healthcare givers that have different levels of expertise and experience. Different oral care services are offered depending on the need. Just like in any other country, dentistry in Nigeria is practiced under specific rules and regulations. This is to ensure that patients receive only quality and relevant services. Among the dental services that patients may seek include teeth alignment, filling, crowning, extraction, whitening and even gum and general oral cavity related services.

Dentistry is a wide medical field and therefore a single individual cannot handle all the areas it covers. Before one is certified as a dentist, he or she has to undergo the necessary training and then pass the examinations assigned by the relevant bodies. While in training, one chooses a specific area of dentistry which they will specialize in. of course, there is also the basic training that all dentists have to take before they can major in their preferred areas.

Dentist NigeriaThere are those that have solely specialized in oral diseases. They are called oral pathologists and their major function is to identify the diseases and disorders in patients and then recommend the best cure. Again, we have general dentists that can only perform simple oral procedures such as care and maintenance services. Other types of dentist found in Nigeria include periondontits, endodontists, orthodontist, oral surgery dentists and prosthondists. All these ensure that the jaws, gums, teeth, nerves, lips and all other parts the oral system are in good health and are functioning properly. It is common to find all these dentists working together as some conditions may require the contribution of dentists from different fields.

Nigeria Dental Association (NDA) is a well known non-governmental and non-profit organization established for the purpose of representing and improving the profession of dentistry in Nigeria. The organization works together with other related establishments, both locally and internationally to see to it that the country attains the best possible oral health for its population. NDS was set up in Lagos, Nigeria in 1967 by a small group of dentists that practiced in the then national capital. Since then it has increased its members’ population to up to 4000 members that practice both locally and in abroad. The body works close with all those that perform dentistry in Nigeria and other oral healthcare stakeholders to ensure that the latest technology is used and that knowledge concerning the field is regularly updated.

Oral Hygiene Practices In Nigeria

Oral hygiene is the practice of cleaning the teeth and the entire mouth to prevent dental problems. Dental problems associated with poor oral hygiene are dental caries, cavities, bad breath and gingivitis. The most common is dental caries which is known to appear in anyone regardless the age.

dental caries

In Nigeria, dental caries is one of the dental problems, and is most common among young children and adults. This is due to the fact that they frequent eat sugary food, sweets and drinks which are known to be causes of this infection. According to the research done by many organization like WHO about oral hygiene practices in Nigeria, it was concluded that most of the people affected were from poor and average background. Theses researches were done mostly through questionnaires. The main questions asked were:

– What is oral health?
– Do they practice oral hygiene?
– Reasons as to why people clean their teeth.
– What causes tooth decay?
– How often they visit dentists for oral check up?

These questions were used as the main determinant of the results about the oral practices in the country. According to the answers from people interviewed, more than 50% knew that sugary foodstuff, soft drinks and juice causes tooth decay. Though research shows that over 80% of the population uses toothbrush and tooth paste to clean their teeth, only 50% had good oral hygiene.

Existing Levels of Oral Care

People living in urban areas had high levels of good oral hygiene as compared to those living in the rural areas. Many practiced the method of brushing their teeth after every meal using toothpaste while those in rural areas brushed only once and most of them used other methods other than the toothbrush like sticks. The study also observed that there is gender difference on the agreement fluoridated toothpaste is more important when it comes to dental carries prevention than tooth brushing techniques.

To fight against poor oral hygiene in Nigeria, specific training of preventing dentistry was introduced in all dental schools across the country. This course emphasizes on the importance of good oral hygiene, sugar consumption frequency, the importance of using fluoridated toothpaste and also using fissure sealants which prevents dental caries. This cause also emphasizes on the importance of brushing teeth daily. The natural health oral program also publicly advertises on good oral practices.

In conclusion, oral hygiene practices in Nigeria have a positive result unlike some years back. People have appreciated the practice of good oral health to prevent dental problems.

Dentistry in Nigeria as Compared to West Palm Beach Florida

Orthodontics was introduced to Nigeria about 300 years ago and has been developing steadily since. Nigeria has based its dentistry model off of England’s. For a long time Nigerian dentists were educated by a process of lectures that covered the theory, but did not give practical experience, yet that has changed in recent years in favor of more practical and hands on methodology more akin to something we might find in say, West Palm Beach dentistry.

University of Lagos NigeriaThe University of Lagos in Nigeria is the first dental university in Africa and the oldest. The University of Lagos pushes out around 100 dentists yearly, and represents one of the less than 20 dental schools in Africa.

Dental Development in Nigeria

While some would call the development of dental education in Nigeria a surprising success, this is only regarding the educational regiment however. Nigeria is still a developing nation, with many of the characteristics people expect to see in developing nations. Over half of the nation is underage and there are a significant variety of languages present which both represent difficulties both in educating dentists and in the practical implementation of dental service by certified professionals.

Nigeria is the most populous African nation, the largest primarily Black nation on the planet. Yet there are currently less than 2,500 certified dentists in all of Nigeria, with practical estimates suggesting that there are easily 1500 practicing without certification. In contrast there are over 10,000 dentists in Florida alone. If that’s not astonishing, a report from 2001 stated that there were only 12 orthodontists were practicing in the entire country.

As far as dental technology goes, there is a standing debate over whether the creation of dental technology is the occupation of scientific and technical professionals (as it is considered in the US) or artisans.

Nigerian dentistry has only recently begun turning its attention towards oral disease. Many Nigerians suffer from an oral disease called Dental caries which effects children. Due to the naturally young population in Nigeria, this disease thrives. One report noted that a third of the children studied had dental caries. The same report suggested that dental hygiene was largely ignored in Africa. The report lamented that while the disease causes significant suffering in individuals, it was not one of the more dangerous diseases in Africa, leading it to be largely ignored.

Many of the issues that Nigeria’s dental practice seems to suffer from is not so much a lack of education on the subject as a lack of understanding of appreciation for medical care among the populace compared to places like Florida in which the importance is consistently reinforced.

While traveling in Florida when making these comparisons I myself was afflicted with an emergency dental matter that required the services of a dentist in West Palm Beach.

Premier Dentistry of West Palm Beach depicted in the video below was able to give me fast and immediate service that very same day, of which I owe sincere gratitude! They really helped me to gain a greater respect for the way dentistry has evolved in this country and how we can be thankful for these great advancements.