Professor Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim Abu Hassan


Prof. Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim Abu Hassan


Prof. Ibrahim, on behalf of MDSA, thank you for accepting our invitation to be our special guest today for ‘Interview with the Expert’. Can you tell us a little bit about where are you from and how you become the Founding Dean of Faculty of Dentistry, UiTM?

I’m from Penang. I completed both my foundation studies in 1978 and Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree in 1980 in UM. I graduated in 1984 and served the community in Terengganu for 1 year before I joined UM as a tutor. I completed my master in UK in 1986 and returned to Malaysia 2 years later. I worked as a lecturer in UM until 1995. Later, I pursued my PhD in University of Bristol, United Kingdom for three and a half years. I was a Deputy Dean Academic in UM for about 6 years til 2005. During that time, UiTM has made a proposal to set up a dental school. However, UiTM did not had any expert or academician, but only doctors at the health clinic. So, UiTM invited a few academician from UM, UKM, USM. I was nominated by the dean in UM to help in setting up the dental faculty in UiTM. I was in charge in coordinating all UiTM dental curriculums. In 2006, I left UM and came to UiTM to set up the dental school and I became the founding dean of UiTM dental school till now.

One of your specialties is Dental Materials. Can you tell us briefly about what it is and why are you interested in this field.

When I was doing my PhD, I did a lab study on dental materials and therefore I did my PhD on ceramics. I learnt a vast of knowledge on ceramics. So, after my PHD, I continue my research on ceramics. I was chosen to develop a material research lab in UM. I was actively involved in dental materials and that was how I came to teach this subject.

Prof Ibrahim, there is an article from research in King’s College London (KCL), a drug designed to treat Alzheimer’s disease was able to stimulate the tooth to create a new dentine capable of filling in large cavities. May I know what is your point of view?

I knew about that. From what I know, they are not only developing dentine but they are working on developing a tooth. Developing dentine is nothing difficult because the advancement of technology in dentistry allows them to take the stem cells and subsequently develop a new tooth. When the tooth is matured, they will then make a transplant to replace the missing tooth and there is no need for implant. In my opinion, to develop dentine is not a problem since the research is so advanced to the extent of developing a new tooth.

It was very interesting about the establishment of the mobile dental clinic. “Mobile Dental Clinic- A journey for Thousand Smiles”. Could you tell us more about it and its role?

Mobile Dental Clinic started when there were not enough dental chairs to accommodate all the students. Thus, I have this idea as a solution of the problem. Besides, students are exposed to the real life situations which are very different from what they have learnt in the faculty.  We can also promote UiTM in villages and provide dental services at other UiTM campus in Malaysia since UiTM in Shah Alam was the only campus with dental services that time.

What advice would you give to the current dental students?

First of all, I want to remind all students not to waste our materials and use our instruments with care because they are very expensive. As for study, even though dentistry is one of the most stressful courses, but if you study consistently and plan your work very well, everything will be fine. There was no student from our faculty that quit dentistry because they failed in exam, instead only students who quit because they cannot handle the stress and do not show interest in this field. That is why we conduct interview for student’s intake so that we know the student choose dentistry out of their passion and not because of their parents.

As for work, after graduation and if you plan to work with government, you must give your very best during your first year of service. If not, after the one year compulsory service and your contract is finished, you might have to work on your own or in any private dental clinic. Therefore, my advice is you must put your best foot forward in your work and maintain a good attitude so that you can survive in this competitive environment.