The Fono

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Local and caring for all

Having worked in a commercial environment for years, catering to patients mostly wanting cosmetic dental work, Dr Mankaran (Jimmy) Sandhu knew it was time for a change. When a position came up at The Fono South Manurewa Dental Clinic, Jimmy jumped at the chance to contribute more to his community, identifying with The Fono’s culture of providing affordable, professional dental care for all.

Driving The Fono’s dental service in Manurewa keeps qualified dentist Jimmy Sandhu busy. The clinic provides a range of dental services including general consultation and x-ray, cleaning, crown and bridgework, fillings and extractions, dentures and whitening.

Although the clinic has been established for some time, Jimmy says a lot of local people don’t realise the range of dental services on offer.

“We’re here for all people to access in Manurewa, whether it’s someone who has recently moved to the area or someone just looking for a change of dentist,” says Jimmy.

“Sometimes I hear that people don’t realise how much we actually do, and our fees are very competitive.”

He adds that one of the advantages of coming to The Fono is the caring nature of staff.

“What makes us different is our caring approach. Our staff can speak a range of languages and we deliver a continuity of care underpinned by our caring approach,” he says.

Engaging with patients and teaching them about oral hygiene is a top priority – and one of the biggest challenges – particularly with adolescents.

“Oral hygiene all starts with adolescents; parents generally look after their children’s teeth, but as they grow older they need to become self-sufficient. I try to educate them about looking after their teeth … before it’s too late.”

Bad diet is the biggest problem Jimmy sees with adolescent patients. The Fono offers free dental for adolescents aged 13-17.

“They drink a lot of sugary drinks, eat sticky and sweet food and don’t have a regular routine of brushing and flossing their teeth,” he says.

“Generally, they’re not sure what they’re doing wrong or what they should be doing.”

Jimmy advises his patients to keep a strict, regular oral health routine, including brushing twice a day, flossing daily and getting a check-up every six months.

“Don’t wait for your teeth to hurt before you see a dentist, because often it’s too late”.

Jimmy says disease and tooth decay can be prevented. “Some patients really lack confidence because of their bad oral hygiene,” he says.

“They don’t want to smile or open their mouths. That leads on to other problems, such as poor self-esteem. It effects them in things like going for a job interview. Education and treatment are key.”

Jimmy has made it his goal – and challenge - to make more people in the South Auckland community aware about their dental health and how to maintain it.

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