On dental technician Bara’a Toubat’s first day on the job he had five clients consulting him about dentures.
Mr Toubat, who lives in Christchurch, is employed one day a week to conduct a clinic at Gore Hospital.
Gore Hospital business manager Rhonda Reid said Mr Toubat used to work in Invercargill.
It became apparent when Mr Toubat worked in Invercargill there were significant numbers of people travelling from Gore for denture services.
Last week Mr Toubat held his first Gore clinic, she said.
Mr Toubat said a mix of people needed dentures but the majority were elderly.
But some young people needed to be fitted with dentures due to trauma to the mouth, drug use or the over-consumption of sugary drinks, he said.
“There are a lot of health issues that can ruin teeth,” Mr Toubat said.
He also custom-made a range of products such as full and partial dentures, mouthguards and bleaching trays, he said.
His work was satisfying and it was great seeing a person transformed.
To make high-quality full dentures a mould had to be taken of the patient’s mouth and the dentures had to be fitted properly. That could take a minimum of four to five visits to the dental technician.
“It just depends on their mouth and their bones.”
To make the dentures as similar as possible to the person’s original teeth, photos of patients when they were younger were often used.
Dentures were made from acrylic composite materials, he said.
Mrs Reid said if demand grew, another day might be added to Mr Toubat’s Gore schedule.
Having the service in Gore meant people would save time and money, she said.
It could involve five or six trips to Invercargill to have dentures made and fitted, she said.
It was often difficult for people to find transport to Invercargill, particularly if they were elderly.