Dental Doctor Turns Good Samaritan

Dental Doctor Turns Good Samaritan Dental Doctor Turns Good Samaritan

In a symbolic move on Tuesday morning, a dentist set up his instruments on a crowded street of Tehran to examine the oral health of passersby, and encourage the authorities and the people to take the issue of dental care more seriously.

Dr. Shafi Jafari, dental surgeon from Tehran University of Medical Sciences and an insurance expert and inspector at the Iranian Dental Association, set up his dental equipment in the overcrowded Enqelab Square, one of the city’s busiest junctions, and spent three hours before noon treating people for free.

“I am usually very busy examining 40-50 patients on a daily basis, and have long seen that prevention is not taken seriously in Iran by the people or by healthcare providers,” he said, when asked about the unusual gesture.

“I’m doing this to encourage people to get into the habit of routine dental checkups and preventive care,” he told ISNA.

Noting the close connection between oral and general health, he said neglect of dental care exacerbates overall health costs. Therefore prevention should be given priority.

In Iran, there is no integrated registration system for a patient’s health record. The Health Ministry has proposed and launched plans, but a complete integrated system has not taken off yet. That is why medical expenses are not where they should be. Money is spent on treatment rather than prevention, Jafari pointed out.

“Most patients are unaware of their oral health status, and reluctant to go for dental treatment primarily due to the high costs; bringing dental care under the basic health insurance will be beneficial to the people.”

He said his objective was to create awareness on the importance of dental health as well as to inform the people about their dental condition and encourage them to go for regular preventive checkups.

He pointed out that most of the people examined by him on the street were financially capable of affording dental care, but were unaware about the problems they needed to address.

“National healthcare authorities and officials must keep this in mind that insurance coverage for dental health will play a significant role in preventive dental care,” he stressed.