Day in the life: Reem Island dentist gives patients something to smile about

Amal AlJboor is a dentist at Tower Dental Clinic in the new Paragon Mall on Abu Dhabi’s Reem Island. The Palestinian Ms AlJboor, 30, has worked there for the last three months.


I wake up to pray, then go back to sleep until I have to get up. I was born in the UAE and went to a government school. I was good at all subjects but felt the job that would suit me best was being a doctor. At that time, the only medical college in the UAE was in dentistry, at Ajman University of Science and Technology, so I went there. I love being a dentist because I am not just looking at teeth through medical eyes, I am an artist too.


I prepare what I need to wear and my papers for work the night before. So, I eat cornflakes or toast with cheese for breakfast. I live in Al Bateen with my mum and dad who runs a shawarma restaurant, and younger brother, who works in marketing. I also have two older sisters, an architect and an interior designer. Palestinian people are well educated because we do not have a country, so we try to build ourselves up for our children. I have not been back to Palestine since 1999, because I’m from Gaza and the way in from Egypt is often closed. When my mother goes, if she’s late coming back because the border is closed, its not so bad, because she does not work. But for me I cannot.


I leave the house. If there is no traffic it takes about 15 minutes for me to drive to the clinic.


My first patient arrives wanting a free consultation. Not many people on Reem Island know about us yet, that’s why we are distributing flyers and offering free consultations at the moment. I normally have about five appointments a day. People are starting to trust me. So far, I have done about 10 extractions, lots of filings, scaling, and about five cases of bleaching. All the jobs involve a lot of concentration and patience.


I get a walk-in patient in a lot of pain. People on Reem Island are educated and care about their teeth. It’s important to have educated patients as it’s easier to deal with them. I resigned from the first clinic I worked at because the quality of the patients was so bad. I am lucky to be at Tower Clinic – they have had a branch in Dubai Healthcare City for more than 10 years and have a good reputation.


I meet a five-year-old child whose teeth are destroyed and the mother says “no problem, they will be replaced” – but what about abscesses? If it’s an area full of bacteria, it should be cleaned. These things need education. If children are uncooperative, I prefer not to treat them. Sometimes they will not even let me open their mouth.


I wander around Paragon Mall during my lunch break. Sometimes I will make a lunch order with my family’s Shawarma Street restaurant in Khalidiya restaurant and they deliver it to me. My father is thinking about opening a restaurant in this mall.


I ask the receptionist to call a patient back to check they are OK. I don’t like complications – I care too much for teeth. I have five nieces and nephews and I tell them not to eat sweet treats more than once a day, and only chocolate.


Back in the office, when I don’t have patients I will read or watch procedures on YouTube to polish up my skills. Before coming to Tower Clinic, I had to wait for a year for my HAAD licence to come through, so I spent this time working as a pharmacist. I didn’t like it, and missed out on some new dental techniques during this time. I am studying for at least two hours a day for my American board exam which would help me to apply to work in North America. If I have to leave the UAE some day, at least then I have other choices. But I was born here and feel this is my home, so it’s difficult to imagine leaving.


A lady comes in to have her teeth bleached. I enjoy doing these procedures because they make such a difference to people’s lives. I am planning to do a course in cosmetic dentistry soon. Implants, cosmetics and bleaching are the main things people are asking about.


I arrive home and eat the Palestinian food my mother has prepared. I eat alone or with my younger brother if he is home. My mother only eats lunch and then some fruits and my father is at his restaurant until 12. I sit with my mother and watch the news.


I like watching football, my team is Real Madrid. I stopped going to the gym because I feel I have zero energy after work, but sometimes I go for a walk along the Corniche. I am asleep by midnight.

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