Dr. Sudhir: Helping us smile

Y Maheswar Reddy spoke to a dentist whose outreach in rural areas, is helping people maintain oral hygiene and health. He has conducted more than 900 dental camps and is closing in on a momentous landmark – his 1000th – no mean feat. Yet he stays humble, and passionate about his mission. Y Maheswar Reddy spoke to a dentist whose outreach in rural areas, is helping people maintain oral hygiene and health. He has conducted more than 900 dental camps and is closing in on a momentous landmark – his 1000th – no mean feat. Yet he stays humble, and passionate about his mission.

Dr. Sudhir, a dental surgeon at the Department of Pediatric and Preventive Dentistry of D.A. Pandu Memorial R.V. Dental College, Bengaluru is unique in his profession. While others of his ilk are busy in mulling on how to earn the money spent on their education, he is more focussed to give back to society, all and more than what he has received in terms of education and support.

Dr. Sudhir had nursed an ambition of becoming a medico since childhood. And he didn’t just nurse it, he nurtured it and then fulfilled it. After completing his high school education at the Bishop Cotton’s, he joined Vijaya College for his Pre-University studies. He obtained admission to the R.V. Dental College through the ubiquitous Common Entrance Test (CET) of Karnataka. “There were other professional courses to pursue but my passion was to become a doctor,’’ he says.

Dr. Sudhir was not born with a golden spoon, but was fortunate enough to have parents who were ever ready to make any sacrifice to see that he studied in a ‘good’ school. It was not easy for his father to pay the fee at Bishop Cotton’s School where he studied. “I can never forget my father’s sacrifice. He worked at the Indian Telephone Industries (ITI),’’ recalls Sudhir with gratitude.

After completing the five-year dental course, he joined as a junior faculty at the same college and worked for six-and-half years. “I wanted to do MD in the same college but had no money. I had to forego the opportunity despite being qualified due to lack of money in 2004. I have to thank and be grateful to the professors who extended financial assistance to me to pursue MD,’’ he narrates. After completing his MD degree, he wanted to involve himself in social activities apart from working at the R.V. Dental College. With Professor Dr A. Ananthraj encouraging and motivating him to be part of dental camps on behalf of the D.A. Pandu Memorial R.V. Dental College, there was no looking back for him. He took his social service to the next level.

Dr Sudhir has played a key role in organizing dental camps not only in Karnataka but also Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. He has also organized dental camps at Tirumala Hills. “I find immense pleasure in organizing dental camps for needy people. I want to create awareness among the people on the importance of oral hygiene which is lacking in rural areas. If they have awareness, there are no facilities for treating dental ailments. If the people have awareness and facilities, they are often unable to afford the cost,’’ he explains.

According to him, awareness on the importance of oral hygiene is very essential for people in rural areas and camps are essential to ensure that they do not approach unauthorized and unqualified people (‘doctors’). “Most of the people in rural areas depend on the local doctors who advise them to take pain killers because the doctors in rural areas have no expertise. The people who suffer from dental ailments indulge in self-medication or visit quacks. It is very dangerous to approach quacks since any damage to the gums will lead to oral cancer,’’ he says.

He advises the people to visit qualified dentists or dental camps for their dental ailments. As of now, he has participated in or organized 982 dental camps. “I think it is the highest for an individual in our country. I want to continue organizing dental camps whenever and wherever there is an opportunity,’’ he says.

His spouse Dr. Bhavya M.K. has been more than supportive of his passion to help the less fortunate. They are like birds of a feather in their thought processes. She not only encourages him to help the needy people but also accompanies him whenever he goes to neighboring states.

“I am lucky to have her as my life partner. She encourages me a lot. She also treats people who come to our clinic – Sparsh Dental Clinic at J.P. Nagar 1st phase. Many people come from Kanakapura and Hosakote to our clinic. We do whatever is possible. Many of them are poor,’’ he says.

Organizing a dental camp at an orphanage or an old age home is his passion. “I happened to visit an old age home situated at Mathikere in Bengaluru. The plight of the inmates made me to do something for senior citizens, orphans and the destitute,’’ he says.

Shree Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind in Bengaluru, Avvai Ashram in Tirunelveli district in Tamil Nadu, Asha Sadan Special School for Mentally Challenged Children in Mandya, Samarthanam Trust in Bengaluru are some of the organizations where he has organized the dental camps.

Though the D.A. Pandu Memorial R.V. Dental College provides the logistics and manpower to organize the dental camps, carrying the necessary equipment to rural areas and tribal areas is a hard task for an individual.

Dental air compressors are very important at any dental camp but it is difficult for the dentists to carry them to the rural areas. If they do manage that task, the lack of, as also the quality of electricity is another concern. “To overcome these problems, I have invented a portable pressure regulator pump,’’ he says.

According to the Patent Office Journal No. 39/2017 Dated 29/09/2017, the invention relates to the development of portable pressure regulating apparatus (pump) for use by a dentist for carrying out dental treatment. It specifically relates to the development of a portable pressure pump as a replacement for compressors used by dentists. It comprises a handle to manually generate the required pressure in an air tight container and is provided with a locking system for maintaining the manually generated pressure. It has a pressure gauge to monitor the generated pressure and scalar unit.

Dr. Sudhir has received a Certificate of Excellence in the category of Best Proactive Faculty in India at 8th International Dental Students & 2nd Dental Surgeons Congress 2016, organized by Dental Students Welfare Association of India and Dental Surgeons Association of India on April 9 and 10 at Belagavi.

With individuals like Dr. Sudhir, it’s easier to keep the smile.

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