Day in the Life: Meet Dubai's 'Bearded Tooth Fairy' on a mission to transform smiles

Dr Hassan Asad, 29, moved from London to Dubai earlier this year and makes his patients feel more comfortable in the chair

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A Day in the Life” allows you to step into the shoes of a UAE resident to experience a typical 24 hours in their work and home life

Dr Hassan Asad – also known as the Bearded Tooth Fairy – is a general and cosmetic dentist on a mission to make patients feel better about being in ‘the chair’.

The 29-year-old was born in Baghdad but moved with his parents to London as an asylum seeker in 2000.

Dr Hassan graduated from Leeds Dental School with a dental surgery degree and an integrated master's in oral sciences before completing a postgraduate certificate in aesthetic and restorative dentistry.

He began practicing in late 2019 and, before moving to Dubai in May, was based in London’s Chelsea suburb delivering high-end restorative treatment and “transforming smiles”.

Now at Dental Studio, Marina Gate, Dr Asad is known for his friendly approach and large Instagram presence.

5.15am: Sunrise appreciation

He partakes in an early start for morning prayer and a cold shower.

“Being spiritual and Muslim, I thank God every day for where I am and what I’ve managed to achieve,” he says.

As the first medic in his family, he says much of his success came via parental sacrifices and “the journey they had to go through to get me out of Iraq”.

“My dad made it clear I wasn’t going to be a footballer … a hard pill to swallow,” says the Arsenal supporter.

“I knew early on that I wanted to be a dentist. I like to use my hands, to create that smile, the patient interaction.”

7am: Glove love

He then has a double espresso before boxing at a Media City gym.

“I’ve got into it since moving here,” says Dr Hassan. “It’s fantastic discipline and cardio. I’m the fittest I’ve ever felt.”

“I can cook, but it’s easier when my three meals a day are ready, eating what is good for me.”

8.30am: Short commute

His commute is five minutes on foot or scooter to the clinic.

He is also taken to social media under his Dr title.

“There were so many Dr This and Dr That on Instagram and a lot of Hassans and Asads,” he recalls.

“There were dentists I looked up to who had a unique twist on what they were doing with their social media profile.

“I thought of something catchy to help me build a brand and knock out that fear some patients have; to see me as a human as opposed to a dentist, because the word has negative connotations to some people.”

8.50am: Survey the day

“I’ll know my diary, who’s coming in and will have looked at X-rays.”

In cosmetic dentistry, Dr Hassan’s duties include bonding, veneers, whitening and Invisalign, as well as restorative work on broken teeth, like fillings and crowns.

“I do a lot of my restorative or high-end cosmetic work when I’m most fresh, in the mornings.

“If the first patient is in for veneers, they might be booked for a longer session. Or I could be back-to-back with six-eight patients, including treatments, consultations, slots for emergencies.”

Dr Hassan is assisted by a nurse, G.

“She will know my next step and is ready to give me what I need. She makes my life so much easier,” he says. “I treat kids as well, which I really enjoy.”

9am-11am: Changing perceptions

Dr Hassan said he knew the type of dentist he wanted to be.

“It’s not just using your hands, it’s a profession where your people skills are really tested, your ability to communicate and deal with patients.

“Most humans have to be there, but would rather not. I took that as something I could work with.”

He seeks to change patient perception of dentistry and diminish fears of patients.

“I want to delve into psychological factors making them dislike visiting the dentist.

“It’s really rewarding seeing a patient who arrives saying, ‘I hate you, but don’t take it personally’, and you hear that a lot. Then you see their journey.

“I’ve got patients who, after two or three visits, straightaway sit down, we need to numb an area and they say ‘go for it’, whereas at the start I couldn’t even get them in the chair.”

11am-1pm: Enamouring enamel

“I like to understand what they want from the treatment outcome, I do a thorough examination, take X-rays, photographs, discuss treatment options, ensure they’re aware of the advantages and disadvantages.

“Some patients want something, but it might not be the best treatment for them.

“My work is a reflection of me, so if I don’t believe something is right for a patient, ethically and morally, I won’t do it. Maybe I can do something simpler, less invasive,” says Dr Hassan, who dislikes the “perfect Hollywood white slabby ceramic” look.

Appointments can include making good someone else’s previous poor work.

“Sometimes that will entail more treatment, costing the patient more than if they did it right first time.”

1pm-2pm: Word of mouth

Living close by, Dr Hassan can go home for lunch.

More often, he remains to prepare for the afternoon, do clinical notes, call patients, or update his 11,000 Instagram followers.

“I’m quite active on my profile, for my patients and other dentists.

“I like to show a ‘real’ side of me as well as a clinical side so will perhaps post me in the gym.

“Patients see that I am a human being. It allows me to engage with them, and other clinicians around the world. And I’ve made many friends.”

During his time on London’s King’s Road, he treated some high-profile patients.

“Chelsea players, Lords … but I don’t differentiate because, at the end of the day, you put your professional hat on.

“It’s nice when a celebrity pops in, but teeth are the same, the same veins, same jaw components.”

2pm-5.30pm: More close-ups

Comprehensive exams include individual tooth and gum assessment, reviewing oral hygiene habits, educating about preventable dental diseases – and a 3D tooth scan with Dr Hassan’s favourite equipment.

“I’m a tech nerd,” he admits. “We don’t have to take old-school impressions to show what’s going on. It’s also a visual tool to show patients what their teeth could look like with alignment.

“I’m always doing courses because technology and science is always advancing.”

5.30-6pm: Lab chat

Towards the end of the day, he will be talking to laboratories and sending them work.

“It’s also a chance to catch up with the other clinicians, discuss cases, and then prepare for the next day, ensure the lab work is ready,” he says.

“High-end cosmetic veneers are beautiful. You see patients go through that journey and, on a fit day, see how incredible their transformation is … that’s so rewarding.

“Then, getting a patient out of pain is also very rewarding. Most importantly, you leave with a healthy smile. Not just a smile.”

7-9pm: Ball games

“There’s nothing better than picking up the ball and pinging it, top right corner. I’m highly competitive.”

He jokes that if a patient supports Tottenham, “the big needle comes out.”

The evening concludes with dinner, or a beach walk, maybe a chat with family before bed.

“Even in social settings, when people find out you’re a dentist, the first thing they do is open their mouth and ask what you think they need,” he concluded.

Updated: December 26, 2023, 3:00 AM