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Global Dentistry in Dubai

June 8, 2014

Every time I go to my dentist here in Dubai, he makes some interesting comment about how dentistry is different here – his job, the patients, and the issues he sees are all impacted. I never thought dentistry could be so interesting!

Suddenly I’m intrigued because it hits my intercultural nerve. First, there are technical differences. For example, the numbering of the teeth, and therefore the charting, is different. Each dentist in this office comes from a different country so they have had to decide upon a standard for numbering and charting.

Then there is the kind of problems that patients come in with. My dentist sees many more broken/cracked fillings and teeth than he did before. What causes this? We discussed a number of options, such as: different diet and eating habits, which change with a move here; different dental care prior to moving here; and higher level of stress here.

That last one struck a chord. I had several cracked fillings last year, and my dentist at home said that that’s unusual and is most likely caused by grinding my teeth at night, which is most likely caused by – stress.

This has several implications. Could we use dental work as an indicator of stress? Can we expect expats to need higher levels of dental work? Are there other factors, such as less sugar consumption or other changes in diet, which might counter-balance that, or lead to other changes? If expats are indeed under higher stress levels and more likely to grind their teeth, could we recommend wearing a night guard while they sleep and preempt the breakage? We could add it to their welcome package.

Of course, that might be a bit over-the-top, as well as off-putting, to tell a recently arrived employee that they may be under so much stress that they may break their teeth. But it is something HR could be aware of and incorporate into a wellness program, and dentists, once they know their population here, can inform them of the risks of working in Dubai.

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