BY ROBERT R. REQUINTINA
There are many ways to educate the public on dental health. But for celebrity dentist Dr. Mario Guiang, TikTok is an effective medium to inform people on dental care.
So far, Guiang has already earned 4.5 million likes for his TikTok videos where he dances, lip-sync songs, and shows antics. “When I introduced the TikTok video where I wore personal protective equipment (PPE), I got 1.3 million views.”
Guiang said people were apprehensive about going to the dentists because of the virus. “So in order to remove their anxiety, dinaan ko ang presentation sa Tik-Tok. And it’s effective. In the comments section, people started to ask about our precautionary measures in the clinic against COVID -19. Kahit mga Asian neighbors natin nagtanong na rin sa akin.”
The multi-awarded doctor went full blast performing in the video-sharing social networking service at the height of the pandemic. “Ang laki ng tulong ng social media sa ating during the lockdown. When I showed them (via TikTok) how I fight off COVID-19, parang naisip nila, puwede naman pala.”
“I started to feel the effect of COVID-19 in my profession when my patients started to cancel their appointments with us. That’s in February. We were closed in March and April. Doon ko naisip mag-TikTok,” he said.
When his clinic in Tarlac was closed, his patients resorted to online consultation, he said. “Many of them have aching teeth. For severe cases, I told them to go to the hospitals. Pero natatakot naman silang pumunta sa mga hospital dahil nga sa COVID so hindi ko na alam ano na ang ginawa nila.”
With the prices of medical supplies around the world having soared, Guiang said that dentists in the country have no choice but to increase their dental services times three.
“Hindi kami nagtaas dahil gusto namin magtaas lang. We need to cope up with the rising costs of medical equipment,” he said.
Guiang, who has been a dentist for 24 years now, said that he has invested in modern equipment to make sure that patients are safe from viruses. “I already equipped my clinics – Tarlac and Quezon City – two aerosol machines.”
“Actually, wala naman masyadong pinagbago ang mga gamit namin sa clinic before and during pandemic. Nagsusuot na talaga kami noon pa ng face mask, gloves, head cap, and wash our hands with alcohol. Nadagdag ang pagusuot namin ng PPEs at face shields,” he explained. “We have also pre-screened our patients before going to our clinic.”
Guiang encouraged the public to read and do research about dental hygiene in the clinic if they still have doubts.
“Filipino dentists should follow the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control aside from the Philippine Dental Association. Patients should check out the latest trends on reliable websites like the Department of Health and World Health Organization, among others. They also check the dentist’s name,” he said.
Asked about his best advice to the people caught in the health crisis, Guiang said: “Never think that the pandemic will stop you from doing what you want to do. Iyong iba nagbenta na lang ng leche flan or tocino. I did not give up dentistry. Ang ginawa ko ay pinagbuti ko na lang ang pagiging dentista ko.” (Robert R. Requintina)