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A Journey As A Dental Surgeon: Challenges, Memorable Moments and Misconceptions

28 January 2018



A Dentist, also known as a Dental Surgeon, is a medical professional who specialises in Dentistry. They work to prevent and treat dental and oral disease, correct dental and facial injuries or irregularities. Featured today is a Dental Surgeon, Dr Hussaini Abba Disa 


Qualifications: BDS,  MDM, DipSych. 



High school at Government College Keffi and Government Science School Potiskum. Medical degree at College of Medical Sciences, University of Maiduguri,  Nigeria. Further education at the Centre for Disaster Risk Management  & Development Studies, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria 


Journey to Dental Surgery  

I was inspired and received pieces of advice from two of my mentors. Professor Bala Audu and Dr Adamu Abdullahi. Coincidentally, both of them are Ophthalmologists but advised me to go for Dental Surgery during my remedial science program at the University of Maiduguri. My performance enabled me into the Dental Surgery programme.  


Some challenges  

Dental Surgery can be very challenging. It is an intensive marathon, at least where I was trained. Sometimes lectures start 7 AM up to 8 PM; we also take home assignments to be submitted the next day. Often one becomes cut off from family and friends due to the rigorousity of the programme. One is given a lot of recommended reading materials to digest before assessments or exams. These were challenging times. 


Your day in the clinic

I get to the office by 8 AM until 4 PM. In between,  I see patients,  take their history of illnesses, examine them,  subject them to different kind of investigations, and arrive at a diagnosis. I carry out some minor surgical procedures in the clinic, and some in the theatre. Together with my team, I also carry out ward rounds to understand the conditions of our hospitalised patients. From 5 PM, I devote time for exercise, after which I spend time with family and friends.  


Best part of your job 

Relieving a patient of his distress. Seeing a debilitated patient getting recovered and discharged to meet his/ her family members in good and sound health.  


Memorable moments

There are two moments that I always remember.  


The first one was a case of a 4 year old child I saw in my clinic. She came in serious pain and was crying profusely. I asked the parents to bring her in and played with her to the extent that she developed confidence in me to treat her. I treated her and she was discharged to go home.  A while later,  I was on an errand around a neighbourhood, then I saw a tiny hand waving me from a window of a slow-moving car. The driver stopped and I moved towards the car, then suddenly the door opened and a child jumped out of the car and hugged me. She told her parents that he is my Doctor. Only then I recognised that she was that girl that was in pain whom I treated in my clinic.  


The second incidence was of an old lady that sustained avulsion of her face secondary to bomb blast injury. The face was completely out of shape and disfigured. We admitted her, did some multi-staged surgeries. On the day of her discharge,  I gave her a mirror to see her face. She broke down in tears thanking our team for the job well done. She said to me she never thought her face could be reconstructed again.


Some misconceptions  

Some people think when they visit Dentists, their teeth are removed by force to the extent that one would have a swollen head and eventually die. It is not true.  


Secondly, there is a high level of misconception about tooth decay. Many people think worms in the mouth cause it. It is caused by many things, such as bacteria in the mouth, refined sugar, the structure of the tooth in question, etc. When a person takes sugary diet, such as chocolate and sweets, etc. The bacteria that are normally resident in the mouth act on the sugar to produce acid. It is the acid produced that destroys the tooth structure and subsequent decay.



Students and junior colleagues should be focused, determined, hardworking, a

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