A dentist from Bucks shared what treating world-class athletes was like as he volunteers at the Commonwealth Games.  

Kunal Dattani, a dental surgeon and owner of Chesham Dental Care, jumped to the chance to help contribute to the international games currently held in Birmingham.

It wasn’t his first time looking after the mouths of top athletes and seeing what stories hundreds of teeth can tell.

Dr Dattani said: “Because of my experience at London 2012, I decided to apply for these games, and I’m there as a volunteer dentist, and got through.

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“Majority I’ve seen so far has been general dentistry, so check-ups and hygiene cleans, so basic things like fillings and extractions.

“We’ve got quite a lot of the rugby sevens, judos, so making things like mouthguards as well. We’ve been busy with basic dentistry.

“Luckily there hasn’t been any injuries, but this time because of Covid we’re just based in the athletes village, and within that we’ve got a little community dental services truck, so we’re not part of the main policlinic.

Bucks Free Press: Chesham Dental Care on Red Lion Street recently rebranded as Rit DentalChesham Dental Care on Red Lion Street recently rebranded as Rit Dental

At the Birmingham 2022 games, Dr Dattani and his colleagues operate out of a specialist community dental truck stationed at University of Warwick and outside the main policlinic responsible for dealing with emergencies.

He said: “It’s been wonderful, we’ve managed to see athletes from far and wide, everything from the Cook islands to the Caribbean island of St Kitts and Grenadine.

“The biggest number of athletes we’ve seen has been from Wales, which has been really interesting. They haven’t had access to a dentist since the pandemic time, which is quite a surprise.

“We were expecting to see more third world countries if you like, but majority of the athletes we have been from Wales, but they just haven’t had access to an NHS dentist or dental care in general.  

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“It’s scary how many of them have said this is their first time to the dentist in a decade, again interestingly more from the Welsh rugby players than the third-world countries.

“I’m origins are in Kenya, and I said to the Kenyan athletes ‘guys, come over and have your teeth sorted’, and the said ‘we had to go to the dentist before we flew’. It was really interesting they had a system in place for the Kenyan athletes, whereas it was the Welsh athletes saying they hadn’t seen a dentist in four or five years time.

“There was a kid who was 25-years-old, and it was his first dental check-up, which is quite scary.”

It appeared dental care had become “a lot more accessible” in developing countries than in the UK – a total opposite to the 2012 Olympics, he said.