MAKKAH, July 2 — As part of efforts to ensure Malaysian haj pilgrims are healthy in all respects, Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) not only provides public health, gynaecological and spiritual care services but also dental treatment.

The clinic, located at the TH Syisyah Health Centre, here, provides similar treatment as in Malaysia and is equipped with specialists and medicines.

Dr Norhayati Abas, 40, said that, although dental care was seen as small in performing the religious rituals, the haj pilgrims would be unable to perform the rituals properly if they suffered from a toothache for an extended period of time.

“Treating patients in the Holy Land is not significantly different from in Malaysia. We will provide the best service in terms of filling and scaling services.

“We will also focus on restoring dental function for pilgrims so that they can continue their rituals without pain,” said Dr Norhayati, who is a dentist and periodontist at the Paya Besar Dental Clinic, Kuantan.

Dr Norhayati, who is serving the haj pilgrims in Makkah for the first time, was also assisted by a nurse and a surgical assistant.

She said that, on average, pilgrims who received treatment suffered from swollen gums, broken fillings and cavities, possibly as a result of a different diet, compared with the ones they were used to back home.

“The mouth is not just for eating, and we need to know that healthy and adequate food is important to give energy to the pilgrims. However, don’t forget that proper pronunciation in prayer is also important, and if you are suffering from a toothache, how can you pronounce those verses correctly?” she asked.

She added that, although the number of pilgrims this year was only 14,306 individuals, the services will still run as in previous years, with more sophisticated equipment.

“This year’s pilgrims are young, middle-aged and under 65 years old. Hence, I expect them to have relatively good teeth compared with before, as more seniors are experiencing loose teeth.

“This time we expect there are problems with cavities, problematic fillings and some are wearing braces. If there is damage to the braces, it can affect health. Iron on the braces can poke the lips and tongue; it needs a dentist to treat it, ” she said. For the record, TH dental clinic started operating in Makkah in 2014.


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