15 December 2013 08:15 | By PlasaMSN
India's street dentists

India's street dentists offer a much-needed service to the poor



India's street dentists offer a much-needed service to the poor (© AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
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  • India's street dentists offer a much-needed service to the poor (© AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)
  • India's street dentists offer a much-need service to the poor (© AP Photo/Channi Anand)
  • Dokter Gigi Jalanan di India (© AP Photo/Channi Anand)
  • Ahli-ahli Gigi di Jalanan (© REUTERS/Athar Hussain)
  • Ahli-ahli Gigi di Jalanan (© REUTERS/Athar Hussain)
  • Dokter Gigi Jalanan di India (© REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash)
  • Dokter Gigi Jalanan di India (© REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash)
  • Dokter Gigi Jalanan di India (© AP Photo/Mukhtar Khan)
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Before dentistry was regulated in the 20th century, it was common practice for a person with no formal dental training to perform dental procedues on the street. However in India there are more licensed dental clinics setting up shop, which are slowly making the services of street dentists obsolete.

Many baulk in horror at the idea of undergoing unsanitary dental procedures, but for some it is a reality as they are unable to pay for proper dental care. These street dentists usually perform simple medical procedures such as extracting teeth. It is common for street dentists to use rusty pliers, and carry out the procedures without the use of gloves or anesthetics. Obviously the shared tools increases the risk of blood-borne infections like hepatitis B and C, but it is a risk the poor are willing to take.

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