Jalal Khan has seen a lot of desperate patients during his time as a dentist.
“I’ve had patients that have had teeth held together with paper clips,” he said.
“I’ve had patients that have been wearing dentures for so many years that the dentures are broken, fractured, they’ve got fungus on them.
Dr Khan has his own Sydney practice, but has made it his mission to improve dental health across the country.
Once a month he takes his mobile clinic to remote communities to treat dental problems and give access to preventive care.
“It’s confronting what we see sometimes, but it really makes us further motivated to expand the service and reach as many people as we can,” he said.
Dr Khan said it was time oral health was covered by a public Medicare-style scheme.
“There is definitely a need for there to be a universal dental scheme that is delivered by [the] federal government,” he said.
“But the reality is that it is impacting the general health of Australians and it’s also costing the government money.
“[In] 2015-2016 there were 70,000 hospitalisations due to acute dental conditions that could have been prevented.
“Each separation in an emergency department costs lots of money, all of this avoidable.”
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