Maxillo-facial and oral surgeons Dr Coelette Smit and Dr Jameel Desai.
Johannesburg - South Africans with oral health problems will have something to bring a smile to their faces with the opening of the first highly specialised oral surgery clinic in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

The state-of-the-art advanced orofacial surgery is the brainchild of maxillo-facial and oral surgeons Dr Jameel Desai and Dr Coelette Smit.

The practitioners said they hope to continue touching many lives through their work.

At the opening of the facility on Thursday, Smit highlighted the importance of the profession and how it’s an integral part of overall health, but also cautioned against dentistry being increasingly seen as cosmetic.

“It’s important to realise from a medical and health point of view that the oral cavity is actually important for your daily living.

“If you can’t eat properly, obviously your body can’t function properly.

“I think to a greater extent more and more people are seeing dentistry as cosmetic and that is not the case. It is a very important part of a human being’s function to be able to eat properly.

“If you can’t communicate with people properly as well in a work setting it influences your emotional state of being, your income and so on,” she said.

The clinic is a specialist temporomandibular joint centre, which offers a range of services including corrective jaw surgery and bone grafting procedures.

Reflecting on the state of the profession in the country and the lack of awareness about oral health, Desai said education is key.

“The tragedy of it all is that we are such a small speciality in South Africa.

“I think if we are 120 specialists, it’s a small speciality countrywide and people generally don’t know the service and don’t have an understanding of what the service is, “he said.

He said despite the high demand for the service, education was still needed.

“The demand is obviously high.

“The more people we educate the more people we can reach, and the more we try and better it for the South African population at large,” he said.

The Sunday Independent