Something to smile about
Griffith Health alumnus Dr Mohit Tolani has seen first-hand the importance of investing in oral health care and education.
Travelling across the countryside of Victoria and New South Wales (NSW), he has treated hundreds of patients with limited access to dental care.
Dr Tolani said he saw the benefits of providing mobile dental services almost two years ago when he was working as a dental surgeon at Goulburn Valley Health Hospital in Shepparton.
“I was seeing a lot of people with compromised dental health. Sadly, I had one case where I had to remove a 17-year-old girl’s teeth,” he said.
“It motivated me to do more to help and make people smile again.”
Dr Tolani started using the hospital’s dental van to deliver dental care to regional and rural communities. This motivated him to take dental literacy programs to local schools and nursing homes, including refugee communities.
“Some of these patients had come from overseas, they had never seen a dentist before and did not know there was a tooth doctor,” he said.
“It reinforced the importance of providing accessible dental health care and education.”
Early last year, Dr Tolani moved to Dapto NSW where he runs a private dental practice.
He offers oral health information sessions and affordable treatment options for local patients and hopes to start his own community dental bus, drawing on his previous experience in Shepparton.
“Dental health is linked to general health, we can identify other diseases of the body through the mouth, which is one of the many reasons why it is so important,” he said.
“But I’m not just focused on the clinical side of treating patients, I want to get to the root cause of dental health issues in the community.
“Dental literacy among children is really important because they take those messages with them and impart knowledge with their family and friends.
“If you want to shape the future, shape the child.”
Dr Tolani’s passion for community service started when he was part of the Southport Rotaract club during his time at Griffith University as a dental student; where he volunteered for more than five years.
He was involved in several dental health community programs over that time.
“I really found my love of community service at Griffith, it inspired me to do more after I graduated,” he said.
Dr Tolani was awarded the Pride of Australia Medal last year for his ongoing commitment to dental health in the community.
In 2017, Griffith Health Group awarded Dr Tolani its Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.