I’ve moved!

Dear awesome reader,

Thanks for supporting Kai Dentistry! I’ve now moved to kaidental.wordpress.com as part of a new shift in blogging style and strategy.

This MeJournals blog will no longer be updated after this. Please stay tuned to the new link for updates!

Kai

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How to register as a dentist in Malaysia

Hello all! I’ve already gotten my job posting, I got posted to Klinik Pergigian Gombak Setia under the district of Gombak and state of Selangor. I was fortunate enough to have only waited 3 months from the time of registration to actually getting the job offer as part of the November 2017 intake. The process of getting a job as a dental officer under the government in Malaysia is extremely complicated and headache-inducing, especially more so if you’re a foreign graduate without batchmates, as I personally went through lots of questioning and double-checking myself. So I’ve decided to help the new dentists out there: here’s my detailed step-by-step guide on how to get a job in the government as a dentist in Malaysia (accurate as of Nov 2017)

If you’re lazy to go through the entire article, here’s a condensed TL;DR version that probably doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know your way around.

  • STEP 1: Register with the MDC
  • STEP 2: Apply online through SPA
  • STEP 3: Submit required documents to KKM
  • STEP 4: Wait for job offer
  • STEP 5: Attend PTM
  • STEP 6: Report for duty

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STEP 1 – Email MDC

First thing you must do after you graduate is to make an appointment with the Malaysian Dental Council (MDC) to register as a dental practitioner (pengamal pergigian). I tried calling the MDC phone number, but they told me to email them so they can take their time to arrange an appointment and reply you. The email to mdc@moh.gov.my should include your full name, the university you graduated from, and that you want to register as a new dental practitioner. I wrote my email in Bahasa Melayu but I believe you can write to them in English as well.

STEP 2 – Prepare your documents

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For item no. 1 you can get it through this link – http://mdc.moh.gov.my/uploads/borang-4_mdc_registration.doc

Items no. 8 and 9 only applies to dentists who have previously registered under a different regulatory body overseas e.g. GDC in the UK or Australian Dental Board etc.

STEP 3 – Attend the MDC registration appointment

From what I know, you have to attend this appointment in person (I feel for you East Malaysian folks!). The MDC office is located in Cyberjaya at this address:

E301, Level 3, Block 3440, Enterprise Building 1, Jalan Teknokrat 3, Cyberjaya, 63000 Cyberjaya, Selangor.

The appointment took 3 hours long (9am to 12 noon), and I was there with some 14 other new dentists. We were gathered into a conference room and they gave a briefing about the role of MDC as a dental profession regulatory body, the importance of professionalism and ethics, the next steps to take to apply for the job, and what to expect during the khidmat wajib (1 year as of 2017). They also collected the documents as mentioned above and gave us our MDC number.

It’ll take a week or so to process the Sijil MDC, which you can either choose to be posted to your address or collected by hand. I chose to collect by hand as Cyberjaya isn’t too far from me. In the meantime, don’t waste time and do this next step.

 STEP 4 – Apply online through SPA

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Now this part is the most crucial part of the application and is the part where most people get their applications stalled due to mistakes. SPA stands for Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Awam (Public Service Commission) and is responsible for allocating jobs to new dentists in Malaysia. Note that however they are not your employers – that would be KKM (Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia) – SPA is just a body related to them, in charge of appointing employees to public service.

Go to this link to apply through the SPA online form – https://putra2.spa.gov.my/spa8new/login.jsp

Remember to fill in all your details, including your PMR, SPM results, your musical talents, co-curricular activities etc. Just fill in as much as you can, even if they seem less than important. Won’t want to miss anything! There’s also a STPM section, but I did A-levels and I didn’t get to enter my details here so I left that section blank, which turned out to be okay. There’s also the subsection Pengajian Tinggi under Maklumat Akademik where we enter the degree and university – I chose Sarjana Muda (Am) when most other applicants chose Sarjana Muda Dlm Bdg Profesional – which also turned out to be okay.

Now here’s the important part where people mess up: where to enter your MDC number? It’s actually under Maklumat Akademik > Profesional/Iktisas/SKM/SVM. Under the dropdown box, choose Berdaftar dengan Majlis Pergigian Malaysia and put in the date of your registration (the date of the MDC appointment when you got your number), and your MDC number itself.

Fill up the rest of the online form, tick the box Saya setuju under Pengakuan Pemohon, hit Hantar to submit.

After submitting, perhaps wait a few days, then call one of SPA’s dedicated Bahagian Pengambilan phone numbers – 03-8885 6327 / 6313 / 6338 / 6372 / 6475 / 6137 ( Unit Perubatan ). Tell them you want to menyemak status permohonan, give them your name and IC number, and ask if there are any masalah mengenai permohonan. This is just for your own assurance – they’ll tell you if you missed anything in the SPA form. The form itself online won’t say anything!

STEP 5 – Submit documents to KKM

For this next step you need your MDC certificate. MDC will call you to inform you that your certificate is ready for collection or you’d get it in the post. There is also a list of documents you need to submit to the kementerian. You can download this form from this link which states what is required – http://www.moh.gov.my/index.php/pages/view/981

For my case, I went to Cyberjaya to collect the MDC certificate and made a photocopy at a nearby stationery shop, and immediately went to Putrajaya to submit the other documents mentioned in the link above.

Again, you can opt to submit it by hand to the ministry itself, or post it to them. I personally went to Putrajaya to hand in the documents and to see the ministry building. I was redirected to the Unit Pengurusan & Profesional. In the end it was quite anticlimactic as all I needed to do was to place the documents on a tray titled Pegawai Pergigian on an office desk which was vacant. Here’s exactly where you need to post/hand in your documents to:

KEMENTERIAN KESIHATAN MALAYSIA
BAHAGIAN SUMBER MANUSIA
UNIT PENGURUSAN & PROFESIONAL 1
ARAS 9, BLOK E7, KOMPLEKS E
PUSAT PENTADBIRAN KERAJAAN PERSEKUTUAN
62590 PUTRAJAYA

STEP 6 – The long wait

tenor (1)

Go work as a DSA or a lab technician in the meantime to keep in touch with the profession! It’s also a great time to discover what other passions you may have in life – music, arts, photography, investments and business management etc.

STEP 7 – The offer email

When it’s your lucky day, you will get an email from Bahagian Sumber Manusia KKM titled TAWARAN LANTIKAN KONTRAK SEBAGAI PEGAWAI PERGIGIAN GRED UG41 DI KEMENTERIAN KESIHATAN MALAYSIA (KKM) – PERMOHONAN PENEMPATAN SECARA ATAS TALIAN DI SISTEM eDENTIST.

The email will detail when the eDentist system opens (where you choose your placement state) and that you will need to make an online account with eDentist. You can try to log in eDentist with your account but it wouldn’t open until the specified time and date. Also it will mention that the PTM and employment starts the following week, which gives you very little time to prepare, so be warned!

It’s time to plan where to get insane internet connection speeds to get the state that you want! I’ve heard of people going to cybercafes to get extra bandwidth and speed.

STEP 8 – Ready you keyboard warriors!

tenor

When eDentist finally opens, there will be annoyingly 3 tabs. The first tab wants you to fill in some extra family details in a form, the second tab wants you to fill in your pre-U qualification and year. The third tab is the one where you choose your state of choice.

For me I wanted KL as my first choice but the first two tabs stalled me for a few precious seconds, and the mere 15 vacancies for KL were filled up by then. I quickly picked Selangor (38 vacancies) as my next choice and phew I got it!

Best of luck at this stage getting your state!

STEP 9 – More documents

Once you get the state of choice, there are a few forms and documents to download from the eDentist page – a contract agreement, medical checkup form, offer letter, statutory declaration etc. These are very important, take note of the number of copies you require for each item.

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Here’s a full checklist of what’s needed (extracted from the Surat Tawaran Pelantikan itself):-

  1. Dua (2) salinan Surat Tawaran Pelantikan
  2. Empat (4) Borang Perjanjian Kontrak yang lengkap bersama duti setem
  3. Tiga (3) Surat Setuju Terima Pelantikan asal
  4. *Akuan Berkanun Bagi Kegunaan Calon lantikan (SPA. 6C 2014) asal dan dua (2) salinan
  5. *Borang Pemeriksaan Kesihatan Bagi Calon Lantikan Perkhidmatan Awam (Pin. 1/2013)* asal dan salinan
  6. Ijazah asal dan tiga (3) salinan
  7. Diploma/STPM/SPM dan tiga (3) salinan
  8. Sijil Perakuan Pendaftaran asal dan tiga (3) salinan
  9. Tiga (3) salinan Kad Pengenalan
  10. Surat panggilan Program Transformasi Minda asal dan salinan
  • For the statutory declaration (akuan berkanun) which you will need to sign in front of a commissioner of oath.
  • The contract agreement needs to be brought to a Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri office to be stamped with a setem hasil. 
  • The medical checkup must be done ASAP and a urine test part of it. Better to do it under a government clinic (Klinik Kesihatan) or government hospital
  • You’ll also need multiple photocopies of your IC, degree, MDC certificate, SPM certificate.

Also to do: set up an EPF/KWSP account, you’ll need it as soon as you report to state office. Takes literally 2 mins – go to the nearest EPF office, use a kiosk to enter your IC and print out your EPF number.

Another thing to do: make a stamp and name tag. Go to a stationery shop with the necessary facilities to make these things. You’ll need it as soon as you start work! Here’s an example of mine.

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STEP 10 – Transform your mind

Keep checking the eDentist page for details about the upcoming Program Transformasi Minda (PTM). There will be another surat jemputan PTM, detailing the dress code and the length of stay. For mine it was posted online 3 days after the offer (and a mere 4 days before actually attending the PTM) that the PTM would be held in Melaka, at a resort called Amverton Heritage Resort Ayer Keroh. Food and accommodation all paid for!

The PTM is a weeklong course and contrary to popular belief, it isn’t actually all that “brainwashy”. They talk mainly about the role of the civil service, law & ethics, and the structure of governmental bureaucracy but don’t really touch the political side of things. Make use of this time to make new friends in your groups and at the dining table. There will be some group work to do during this week, so take the opportunity to foster the bond with your new friends. I think the PTM is made to be more of a fun session for new civil servants than actual serious business so just go in to have fun!

Now there’s a burning question going on: despite knowing your state of work, you still don’t know which clinic/hospital you will be placed in. You won’t find out at the PTM, which brings us to this next part.

STEP 11 – Report to the state office

After the PTM, we had to report to the state office (for Selangor it was in Shah Alam) at 8am on the first working day following the PTM. For Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu it’s on a Sunday, and for the other states, it’s Monday.

The state office will give YET ANOTHER briefing/ceramah and then you will be allocated your actual clinic placement. Selangor claims to use some “special algorithm” to place us according to vacancy requirements, home address, gender and race for diversity purposes. Some states will allow swapping between people. I got Gombak Setia which is extremely close to KL, so I didn’t let it go!

After finalising your clinic placement, which took hours, you will get a letter to report to the district office (PKPD daerah), which brings us to…

STEP 12 – Report to district office

My district is Gombak, which has its district office in Rawang. So I traveled to Rawang PKPD for the actual submission of the documents required and their photocopies, and confirmation of EPF/KWSP account and bank account details (for your salary!).

Also here you can claim mileage expenses for your troubles traveling from home to PTM location to state office to district office.

Finally, you will get a letter with your name and the address of the clinic…

STEP 13 – Report to clinic!

Go to your clinic, submit your letter to the YM (Yang Menjaga) of the clinic and there! You’ve finally gotten yourself a job as a dental officer in the civil service. From here on out, your YM will inform you of any other urusan you need to carry out. One example would be applying for an APC (annual practising certificate) with the MDC.

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———————

Phew was that a lot of stuff to go through. Good luck to you the reader in the long and arduous task of getting a job as a dental officer in Malaysia!

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BDS!

About one month ago I ended my time at university. Five years of blood, sweat and tears culminated in that moment, for I have finally graduated!

The moments at the graduation ceremony were indeed glorious. There were fancy costumes to wear, elaborate rituals to uphold and a Hippocratic oath to read out. Everyone was grinning, laughing, congratulating, hugging & shaking hands. People came with their families, whose parents were so proud and probably happier than their children. But deep down, we all knew that the graduation is just a ceremony, and that the real nail-biter was results day. I’ll spend more time talking about that instead.

I was in a restaurant in downtown Belfast with a few friends having lunch, knowing that it’s results day so we could either celebrate or cry together. It’s 2017 and we’re in the age of push-notifications. A beep on my phone and I got an email titled EXAMINATION RESULTS. Immediately my pulse raced and I quickly fumbled my fingers over to the mobile web browser to log into the university’s student portal. When I found out, I let out a huge sigh of relief. No screaming or cheering, some joy, but mostly relief. It was finally over!

WhatsApp Image 2017-08-08 at 3.32.42 PM Photo credits: Yi Lin T Photography

So here I am, with a Bachelor of Dental Surgery. Here’s to a beginning of a dental career that I’m so very excited to embark on. I’m ready to contribute to society.

Finally,

Dr Fong Wenkai
BDS (Belfast)


P.S. I’ve returned home to Malaysia for good! Currently waiting for a government placement. Will soon blog about the process of applying (as of 2017) and my experience with it.

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Brånemark’s Adamantium

I’m finally going to talk about the coolest dental invention around – implants!

If you recall my previous post Engineers on a Small Scale, I mentioned that a dental bridge is one of the options for replacing missing teeth. The other widely popular option is to go all Wolverine and put a piece of metal in your bone structure.

NEaBfb0Dqw4bch_1_b Image: Marvel Entertainment and 20th Century Fox

However, unlike our mutant friend Logan, our implants support teeth rather than claws.

Just last week, a Swiss-based implant company named Straumann sent some representatives to our school to give us a simple hands-on course on implants. Of course, as BDS undergraduates we’re not expected to know too much about actually placing implants, this hands-on course was just a simple introduction so we know what it’s all about and how to explain to patients about these fancy titanium screws.

shutterstock_74442769_Single_Implant_CrownsImage source

As we can see above, the metal screw is the aforementioned implant. It is surgically placed in the mouth by the dentist, embedded through gum and into the bone. The implant is usually made of titanium, which is a very strong metal that doesn’t corrode and has the ability to make the bone remodel & grow around it. The threads of the implant improves its ability to stay within the bone by increasing its surface area, thus providing strong support for the tooth above. After the implant is placed, a crown or bridge or even a denture can be placed on top of it. You might wonder, if its function is just to replace a missing space, why go through so much trouble moving heaven and earth to plant a screw into bone? Why not just make a bridge that sits on top of the gum?

Bridges, while ingenious, sit only on top of the gum and not within bone. This means that when you bite down on that false tooth, it doesn’t feel REAL. Implants can give that tactile sensation when you bite on it, giving the impression that it’s like a real tooth. Our teeth have the amazing ability to discern even the tiniest objects sitting between them – say, biting down on a grain of sand, or having a small piece of meat stuck between your teeth. This organic sense can never be replicated by bridgework, but implants are able to do so, to a certain extent.

Implants are expensive though. And expertise-demanding. And time-consuming. And not everyone is suitable for it. You’ll need a certain bone density to be able to do it, or else you’ll need a bone graft which in turn leads to more surgery and longer treatments. What I’m trying to say is, while it gets closest to replicating a real tooth and is considered gold standard in many regards, it isn’t a silver bullet (it’s just a titanium screw!)

Here are some pictures of the recent Straumann hands-on workshop:

IMAG1917

Straumann’s titanium-zirconium implant held in a sterile environment within a capsule.

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The implant removed from its capsule. The blue part is an attachment to a ratchet that I’m holding, the implant itself is the silver-and-gold screw below the blue part. In the background you can see a piece of “bone”, which has a hole surgically prepared specific to this implant’s dimensions.

IMAG1922

The implant screwed into the bone. At this stage, it’s nowhere near done. There are a few more stages to do after this, and may take months before a final crown/bridge is made to be placed atop it.

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I named the title of this blog post after Per-Ingvar Brånemark, a Swedish orthopaedist who is known as the founder of modern dental implants. While dental implants have been used historically as experiments, Brånemark did some landmark studies that proved that titanium could adhere with bone in a process called “osseointegration”.

 

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Autumn Update

Dear all followers of Kai Dentistry! It’s been a long while since I last blogged, so here is a recap of what I have been up to for the past few months.

Final year has begun

It all comes down to this. After all the blood and sweat of the previous 4 years, the final hurdle is finally here.

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This year we work mainly in the Total Patient Care (TPC) clinic. It combines the practice of restorative dentistry, endodontics, periodontics and prosthodontics under one roof. Before this we used to go to separate clinics to carry out different kinds of treatment. For example, we used to go to the periodontal clinic for gum treatment and prosthodontic clinic for denture treatment. Now that we have a combined clinic, it feels more like an actual dental practice. We have to think more clearly of treatment plans in handling complex treatment cases.

Summer research project

As you may know, I didn’t go back to Malaysia for my summer holidays. Instead, I spent the whole summer working on a summer research project with the university.

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The topic of the project was “quality of root canal treatments undertaken by undergraduate students”. It’s a retrospective study looking at X-rays of completed root canal treatments done by students in the school of dentistry, and grading them according to strict criteria. I’ll not divulge into the results of the findings, because it is unpublished research data I’m not allowed to share. The image above shows me posing during the early stage of the research, where I was collecting patient data from the patient records.

Of course, I wasn’t alone. I was working with my research partner Omid, who was a ball of fun (and noise!).

imag1375

And this is how the majority of the research was carried out. We were mainly working on clinic in the school of dentistry, looking at digital X-rays and patient notes, and inputting all the data into a Microsoft Excel sheet.

imag1370 Root canal selfie!

For the last few weeks of the research, we were writing a paper on the research findings. It hasn’t yet been finalised as we need to consult with consultants over some minor details. Hopefully something good will come out of it!

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Posted in Endodontics | 1 Comment