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January 30, 2013 | Asia Pacific: Malaysia

Long Overdue Relief for Malaysian Athlete

By Karl Hejlik

Special Smiles Volunteer Giorgi Dugashvili examines Mohammad.

Mohammad Nuir Firdaus Andi, a 16-year-old floor hockey player, had never visited a dentist before coming to Healthy Athletes at World Winter Games. He has had pain in his mouth for more than a year, and when the volunteer dentists examined him, it was clear why. He had multiple badly decayed and infected teeth on the lower, right side of his mouth, severe enough to require a root canal. Mohammad’s family is poor, and in his home country of Malaysia, many people refuse to see dentists unless absolutely necessary. Fortunately, Healthy Athletes has a fully-equipped dental clinic as part of its Special Smiles program in Korea. Dentists there put off treatment for a few days so Mohammad can still compete in the games, but his floor hockey coach Sanfa Guel said she would make sure he was able to return to Special Smiles and get treated before flying home. “This chance may only come once for him,” she said.

About Karl Hejlik: Senior Manager, Health and Research Communications.
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