The ambitions for specialization by Dental Technicians, to create a category of Denturist after the Second World War, resulted in Organised Dentistry creating a monopoly to protect their members from any competition. The creation of a sole monopoly for Dentists to sell dentures manufactured by Dental Technicians, was purely to create a higher income for the Dental profession, to lure more dental students into the profession and by doing so create the workforce that would serve the public oral health interests. That was the motivation used in Parliament, as justification for creating the monopoly in 1945. The Bill Action Committee of the South African Dental Association (SADA) used reprehensible cancer scare tactics and numerous false statements at the time, to secure support of Parliamentarians for an unjustifiable measure.

60 years later, there can be little doubt that this experiment had been a failure. It immediately put many Dental Technicians out of work and forced the profession of Dental Technicians into a subservient role; it was also responsible for unwarranted friction and mistrust between dentists and dental technicians ever since. Parliament called on Dental Technicians to make this sacrifice in the interest of public health. One can justly ask what affect this monopoly had on the oral health of the public at large. Did this monopoly serve the community’s best interest, or only that of the dental profession? What was the result?

  • The white woman of SA older than 65, who have had access to the best dental services in the country during this period, have an unacceptably high level of Edentulism, due to their dutiful regular visits to the Dentist.
  • The creation of financial incentives in the private sector have detracted from the ultimate goal of health for all, and instead have created freedom for practitioners to abuse and mismanage the Patient’s health and Medical Schemes. In fact, the SADA acknowledges that the fraudulent culture amongst Dentists called padding of accounts, creative billing or tariffmanship have tarnished the image of the profession.
  • Rumours stubbornly recur that Dental Technicians have been conditioned and manipulated to charge discounted fees for dental laboratory work to their prescribed clients, the Dentist, who does not pass on this lower fee to their patients.
  • The Department of Health admitted in Oral Health Policy documents that access to basic oral health services has been woefully inadequate and unaffordable to the majority of the population.

In short, the experiment has failed! The guise to train more Dentists and artificially inflate Dentists' income to provide human resources that can improve the public oral health was a delusion that created an incentive for greed. The continuation of this monopoly of Dentists to function as a go-between and fragmentize the procedures of supplying dentures is an anachronism due for urgent revision, as 40 Parliaments have already done globally. Denturism is service-efficient specialization and NO rationale for the restraint is justified.