The Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC) celebrates World Oral Health Day through spreading awareness messages about oral and dental health.
Dr. Rami Ahmad, Director of Dentistry at PHCC, said: “PHCC efforts are being intensified towards providing the best healthcare possible, with the focus on high-quality services with facilitated access. These efforts are not only reflected on the infrastructure and health centers equipped according to international standards, but also on the recommendations of the senior and executive management, aligned with standards of work professionalism, quality, safety, and patient satisfaction.”
PHCC’s dental clinics, a total of 154 clinics in 31 health centers, provide comprehensive primary health services in both general and specialized dentistry, for all age groups. These services mainly focus on prevention and early detection of dental and gum diseases before reaching advanced stages, in addition to coordinating between specialties and other levels of health care to provide an integrated health plan.
The services provided in the General Dental Clinics include preventive treatments such as fluoride varnish application, cosmetic fillings, glass ionomer fillings, and gum cleaning in case of gum disease, such as scaling (removal of plaque and tartar), or in case of periodic preventive cleaning. In addition to root canal fillings and tooth extraction services for simple cases that do not require referral to secondary or tertiary care.
The Specialized Dental Clinics, on the other hand, include a specialized Oral Surgery Clinic, Root Canal Treatment Clinics, Pediatric Dental Clinics, and Gum Disease Clinics.
The Oral Surgery Clinic provides medical services such as extraction of decayed or damaged teeth and wisdom teeth. Complicated cases requiring a higher level of care are referred to secondary or tertiary care such as Hamad General Hospital. The Root Canal Treatment Clinic provides canal treatment services for the back teeth. Pediatric Dental Clinics provide dental services for children and educate parents on the importance of practicing good oral hygiene. The Gum Diseases Clinic deals with advanced periodontal treatments for supporting gum tissues affected by gum disease.
Dr. Ahmad added that the number of visitors to PHCC dental clinics reached 238,171 during the year 2022, as the number of pre-booked appointments was 129,315, while the number walk-in appointments was 147,027.
Dr. Ahmad noted that “when patients miss appointments, they affect other patients whose appointments may be delayed as a result, which is still a major constraint that needs to be overcome.” Last year, missed appointments reached nearly 20% of the total appointments booked in advance. This highlights the need to educate community members about the importance of attending their booked appointments or canceling appointments in case they no longer wish to attend them, thus allowing more patients to receive the necessary care.
On how to fight gum and mouth cancer, Dr. Ahmad said that the early detection of oral cancer in dental clinics is a vital service and is one of the services that have been added to the agenda in the future. Oral cancer screening seeks to detect diseases that may lead to oral cancer at an early stage and when it is easy and most likely to be treated. Those who are invited for screening are at greater risk of this cancer than others, such as cases of chronic use of tobacco of all kinds, cases of recovery from a previous mouth cancer, cases whose family history contains similar cancers, and cases of excessive sun exposure, which increases the risk of lip cancer.
Further, Dr. Ahmad noted that the most common type of oral disease in Qatar is tooth decay. In general, oral diseases are among the most common diseases in the world, including tooth decay and gum disease. This is due to many factors, including lack of awareness of the importance of oral health and the practice of good oral hygiene from an early age and the importance of proper nutrition. In addition to unhealthy habits, such as smoking and chewing tobacco.
He advised people to practice good oral hygiene on daily basis, brush their teeth twice a day, visit the dentist on periodic basis, undergo preventive treatments, follow a healthy diet that contains vitamins and minerals, and drink plenty of water and fluids with no added sugar.
Dr. Ahmad added that the recent allocation of health centers for Qataris has significantly and noticeably contributed to reducing pressure on health centers, as Qatari can book appointments with more immediate time slots. He also noted that Qatari nationals are still eligible for services in all other PHCC health centers
The health centers with dental clinics allocated for Qatari are: Leabaib, Muaither, Al Thumama, and South Al Wakra. In addition to the recently opened health centers: Al Khor, Al Sadd, Al Mashaf, and Umm Al Seneem.