Experts Advocate Preventive Oral Healthcare At 5th Dentistry Day

By Humphrey Ogu

Ways of stemming increasing cases of oral diseases formed the main focus of the 5th Dentistry Day activities, which commenced on Monday, January 27, with a rally and ended with lectures at the AmatuBraide Lecture Hall on Thursday, January 30, 2020. 

Declaring the event open, the Vice Chancellor, Professor NdowaLale said: “I am happy to announce that the University Management has concluded arrangements to construct new office blocks for the Faculty of Dentistry under the 2017-2019 Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Interventions. When completed, the new facilities would hopefully reduce the acute accommodation shortages being experienced by the Faculty.

“The theme of this year's Dentistry Day Celebration: “Integrating Multidisciplinary Approaches Towards the Prevention of Oral Diseases” is quite relevant at this time when the various sub-disciplines in the practice are becoming increasingly specialised and inter-dependent in oral healthcare delivery. It is imperative to integrate the various areas of the discipline for purposes of achieving the common goal of preventing oral diseases that afflict Nigerians on daily basis,” Professor Lale added. He called for the training of more Dental Technicians who handle replacement materials that help those afflicted with oral diseases to live a normal life, urging the College of Health Sciences to champion the cause.

In his address, Provost of the College of Health Sciences, Professor IyeopuSiminialayi, noted that the programme was aimed at enlightening the University community on the importance of oral health in the attainment of total wellbeing. “I am particularly delighted to note that the Faculty of Dentistry, which is the youngest in the College is one of the most active. Three senior academics in the Faculty were recently elevated to the rank of professor,” he added.  The Provost also stressed the need for the inclusion of more courses that would equip students to handle the increasing cases of oral diseases in a country that is in dire need of Dental Surgeons.

Earlier in his welcome speech, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, Professor AbiodunArigbede, expressed gratitude to the Vice Chancellor for supporting the Faculty, especially with the promise of more physical infrastructure. Professor Arigbede recalled that the maiden edition of the Dentistry Day celebration was held on January 30, 2014, under the Deanship of Professor ChukwudiOnyeaso.

“The event is all about raising awareness about the need for oral health education, community service and academic presentations on contemporary oral health issues. The theme for our 5th Dentistry Day: “Integrating Multi-disciplinary Approaches Towards the Prevention of Oral Diseases reflects our desire to create awareness about oral diseases in Nigeria,” he said.

Delivering a paper on the theme of the celebration, an expert in Community Dentistry at the University of Lagos, Professor OmolaraUti, noted that the burden of oral disease was particularly high for the disadvantaged poor population in both developed and developing nations. “From the economic perspective, improvement in the population's oral health is highly beneficial and contribute to further increases in people's wellbeing and improvements in their overall quality of life,” she observed.

In her lecture on the sub-theme of the celebration entitled, “Preventing Oral Diseases: Perspectives and the Role of the Physician,” Acting Head of the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine in the Faculty of Clinical Sciences, DrOmosivieMaduka, identified four levels of prevention, namely: primordial, primary, secondary and tertiary. She observed that promoting oral health begins with preventing oral diseases, stressing that it is always better than cure.

The event also featured free oral health outreach which took place at the Convocation Arena on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, including honouring individuals who distinguish themselves in the service of the Faculty.

Editor's note: Professor Arigbede is referred to as 'Acting Dean' because election is yet to be conducted to fill the vacancy in the Faculty of Dentistry.

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