Specialist Dental Group has launched an on-going series of blog posts by our individual dental specialists. All views provided are the dentist’s own opinions and are posted on this blog as part of our on-going efforts to educate the public about dental issues and other matters of interest relating to dentistry and healthcare.

SoldierNational service (army training) is something that some Singaporean parents look forward to. They know that as long as they send their beloved boy to National Service, a man will be returned to them after the training period. What a great deal: A boy is sent in and a man is returned after!

I am not sure about the system in other countries but there is no doubt that the national service system is not identical across countries.

Recently, newspapers reported that a pop singer in a prosperous Asian country was being investigated by the authorities because he allegedly had three of his good teeth removed, placing him into the ‘unfit’ category for enlistment into the army.

A complete dentition should consist of 32 teeth, and in his case, he had a total of 12 missing teeth. He was thus suspected of evading his military duty!!

We do not know if his dental condition had warranted the removal of so many teeth. However, if we take a step back and think about the situation: – For a young person in an affluent economy, intentionally or unintentionally, to end up having only half of his teeth left in his mouth, is frankly unacceptable in the 21st century.

It is correct that the missing teeth may be replaced by dental implants later in life but his jawbone could deteriorate to a point that dental implants cannot be prescribed! It is a known scientific fact that jawbones deteriorate with time from the moment the teeth are missing.

While we have seen dramatic improvements in dental implant procedures over the last 20 years and science would certainly advance more in the future, it is certainly not a good role model for his fans if he stayed away from serving his country.

As far as we know, Singapore National Service is extended to all healthy young men in Singapore regardless of the number of teeth in their mouth. On the other hand, during National Service, they may get their teeth removed in the army if there is a proper clinical indication and a few days of rest may be prescribed afterwards.

The bottom line is: do NOT follow that singer’s example.

ansgar cheng 

Dr. Ansgar C. Cheng is a Dental Specialist in Prosthodontics (Teeth Replacement) with Specialist Dental Group™. He is also an Adjunct Associate Professor with the National University of Singapore.  He has a special interest in dental implants, cosmetic dentistry and treatment of  medically compromised patients, including cancer patients. For more information about Dr. Cheng, click here

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