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Why are millions of mouths being neglected?

Endo-Care-199

 

When browsing the news I’m always astounded at how many articles there are about the lax approach to oral care among the general populace of the UK. Whilst some of these headlines are more than likely sensationalised by the media to draw in an audience, there is often a grain of truth hidden amongst the hyperbole, and one article in particular that caught my eye recently detailed some harrowing statistics that couldn’t be ignored.

A result of the recent National Dental Survey performed by BUPA Dental Care, the article revealed that over 2 million UK adults hadn’t been to the dentist in over a decade.[i] I personally find it almost unbelievable that in this day and age there are so many people out there who are willing to ignore their oral health and avoid seeking out the proper guidance necessary to ensure that their teeth remain healthy, especially for such a long period of time.

I think in many of these cases people believe in the adage “don’t fix what isn’t broken” and if they aren’t experiencing any pain or visible signs of decay they assume that their mouths are in good condition. As professionals, we know this isn’t necessarily the case. However, when delving further into the article it seems that more than a third of British people mask or ignore dental pain with the use of painkillers instead of curing it with a visit to the dentist. This is an astonishing statistic that suggests that what we really need to do is go back to education and make it clear to these people that prevention and treatment are always better options than pain.

The findings of the survey revealed that many British people skip brushing their teeth if they are in a rush and that a third of them never floss or visit the hygienist either. In a way these statistics are less surprising – how often have you told a patient they need to floss and they return with no change? It still indicates a widespread problem that we, as professionals, need to do our part in changing. Perhaps to combat these statistics we need to explore new methods of guidance to help guarantee that the message really sinks in.

One method that I think could make a big difference is a wider use of dental photography. Not only does this ensure patients will be able to visually see the damage that they are causing to their teeth, but it is also a useful way to track the progress of any treatments you offer. These photos are also useful marketing materials for the practice as long as you ensure that your patients give you the proper consent. This is especially great as with the ever-growing rise in platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, these visual aids can really help people discover what your team are capable of and even bring in new business.

Another method worth exploring is the introduction of technology with visual aids such as animations and diagrams. Not only do these help educate patients by detailing procedures in a way that they can understand, but they also prove to be invaluable resources when faced with patients who have been repeatedly given advice and don’t seem to take it on-board.

Whatever the reason behind this wide-scale neglect it’s from clear reports like these that there is more work to be done. Professionals need to be vigilant when encouraging good oral care habits in our patients, and if that means we should explore new methods to make them aware of the dangers, then it’s something worth considering.

Of course, patients too must take some responsibility, however, when making it clear that regular brushing and interdental cleaning are a necessary part of maintenance and giving the best service we possibly can, we can reassure those who have avoided the dentist for years that seeing us isn’t as scary as they may think. Hopefully these measures will help minimise these worrying statistics detailed by the report over time.

For further information please call EndoCare on 020 7224 0999

Or visit www.endocare.co.uk

 

EndoCare, led by Dr Michael Sultan, is one of the UK’s most trusted Specialist Endodontist practices. Through the use of the latest technologies and techniques, the highly-trained team can offer exceptional standards of care – always putting the patient first. What’s more, EndoCare is a dependable referral centre, to which dentists from across the country send their patients for the best in specialist endodontic treatment.

 

[i] Dentistry.co.uk. Over 2 Million Brits Haven’t Seen a Dentist in More Than a Decade. Link: http://www.dentistry.co.uk/2018/05/25/2-million-brits-havent-seen-dentist-decade/ [Last accessed june 18].

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450 Hits
MAR
01

Something for you and your patients to smile about

Something-for-you-and-your-patients-to-smile-about.jpg

At EndoCare, we pride ourselves on our empathetic and patient-focused approach. Our friendly team is dedicated to providing a caring, comfortable and continuing service to your patients – and is enthusiastic about making and maintaining excellent relationships with referring practices.

 

If you are looking for a high quality and trusted specialist endodontic referral centre, look no further than EndoCare. Our experienced and compassionate team are fully committed to providing outstanding levels of endodontic care, every time.

 

Across three main locations – Harley Street and Moorgate in London, and Richmond, Surrey – all of our practices feature state-of-the-art equipment and facilities and are staffed by a support team that is ready to assuage any concerns your patients might have.

 

By working together with referring practices, we at EndoCare can become an integral part of your service team, helping to deliver outstanding endodontic treatment. 

 

Refer your patients to EndoCare today for effortless, stress-free referrals, and an excellent level of patient care. 

 

For further information please call EndoCare on 020 7224 0999

Or visit www.endocare.co.uk

  2278 Hits
2278 Hits
JAN
14

Consistent changes - Michael Sultan

Consistent changes - Michael Sultan

I have to admit, I have never enjoyed our annual infection control lecture. Past experience has left concerned about the quality of the CPD on offer, worried that I will be subjected to another afternoon of scare-mongering and opportunistic commercialism. Far worse, though, is the yo-yo-like introduction and withdrawal of guidelines that happens year on year – usually without any scientific evidence to support the decisions.
 

Like any conscientious practitioner, I take these responsibilities very seriously and, ultimately, I think the changes that have been made have been positive.
 

But all I want is a little consistency. I’m sure we can all remember when we were required to keep our sterilised equipment in bags, to be re-sterilised after 30 days of non-use. That quickly changed to 60 days and now it’s gone up to one year. Why?
 

Who knows?
 

The science that dictates these guidelines is not made widely available to professionals – we are simply required to dogmatically follow them. What’s more worrying, however, is the fact that private practitioners are not consistently informed of these regularly changing guidelines. NHS practices and hospitals receive regular updates from the Department of Health – but we are too often left in the dark. Gone are the days when the BNF was sent to all practices: we now have to purchase it or subscribe online.
 

In fact, and I say this with a certain amount of trepidation, I regularly find out about new guidelines by reading through some of the GDC fitness to practise hearings. I often see cases where practitioners are being penalised for something of which I’m not even aware. In this, I think, there has been a fundamental failing in the profession – which is having serious ramifications for practitioners right across the country. 

 

I also couldn’t help tallying up just how much compliance could end up costing. With all the changes, with all the considerations, I was left wondering what strategies I would have to employ to make it feasible – and it all came back down to the question of consistency again. Should practices spend significant sums of money to replace their old sinks with ones that are compliant this year but potentially not the next? Should they have to budget for the government’s indecisiveness?

 

It’s a difficult situation and, ultimately, the patient will suffer. If practitioners are always having to buy new equipment, new cabinetry or new PPE the cost of treatment will inevitably go up to accommodate the additional costs. It’s not a case of ignoring these topics – the protection of our patients is, and always will be, our foremost consideration – but in order to best do that, we need a consistent direction and a better system for sharing the knowledge we need.

 

For further information please call EndoCare on 020 7224 0999

Or visit www.endocare.co.uk

 

Dr Michael Sultan BDS MSc DFO FICD is a Specialist in Endodontics and the Clinical Director of EndoCare. Michael qualified at Bristol University in 1986. He worked as a general dental practitioner for 5 years before commencing specialist studies at Guy’s hospital, London. He completed his MSc in Endodontics in 1993 and worked as an in-house Endodontist in various practices before setting up in Harley St, London in 2000. He was admitted onto the specialist register in Endodontics in 1999 and has lectured extensively to postgraduate dental groups as well as lecturing on Endodontic courses at Eastman CPD, University of London. He has been involved with numerous dental groups and has been chairman of the Alpha Omega dental fraternity. In 2008 he became clinical director of EndoCare, a group of specialist practices.

 

 

 

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2259 Hits
JAN
12

Providing better aftercare - Dr Michael Sultan

Providing better aftercare - Dr Michael Sultan

So: you have taken on a case, diagnosed the patient’s problem, discussed their options and gained their informed consent to proceed. The treatment has gone well and the patient leaves your clinic, a little numb admittedly, but in good spirits. You are satisfied you have done everything you can for them.

 

But there is just one thing missing: aftercare. Or proper aftercare, at least. An unfortunate majority of dental professionals seem to believe that aftercare consists simply of handing a patient an advice leaflet as they head out the door and booking them in for a follow-up appointment.
 

But there has to be more than this. 
 

When I first set up my practice, we made the effort to contact every patient after treatment, just to assess their recovery and assuage any concerns they might have had after returning home. For the most part, the patients appreciated this – they were happy we rang because it showed we cared about their progress. Some, however, were immediately suspicious and thought perhaps we were ringing to tell them about a problem with their treatment. The majority of people were simply surprised we had phoned at all, because no one had ever done it before.
 

This possibly stems from the fact that we have become so invested in the time-honoured maxim that ‘no news is good news.’ Surely, we think, our patients will contact us if there is something wrong.
 

But the fact is, they probably won’t. Whether it’s because they are embarrassed or they think we’re too busy to talk to them, most patients will suffer in silence.
 

This is, of course, a fundamental failing in our role as healthcare providers. We need to care for our patients until they are well again, not just until they walk out our door. Admittedly, trying to call each and every patient can be a time-consuming task, especially for larger practices. It can also be utterly superfluous, if only a handful of patients actually need additional attention.
 

What is needed, therefore, is an overhaul of current aftercare procedure. We need a way of targeting those patients who need our help and reassurance. With modern technology what it is, this surely cannot be difficult to achieve. I imagine apps that can track patients’ post-treatment pain in real time, helping us recognise trends and deliver precise assistance to those who need it most; I can see text services and instant messaging being integrated into dentistry to provide personalised aftercare for all patients.
 

This would surely improve our profession, not just in standards of care, but in reputation – just imagine the positive response your patients will offer when they know that you genuinely care about their progress and wellbeing?       
 

And if that isn’t incentive enough to improve our aftercare, I don’t know what is.

 

For further information please call EndoCare on 020 7224 0999

Or visit www.endocare.co.uk

 

Dr Michael Sultan BDS MSc DFO FICD is a Specialist in Endodontics and the Clinical Director of EndoCare. Michael qualified at Bristol University in 1986. He worked as a general dental practitioner for 5 years before commencing specialist studies at Guy’s hospital, London. He completed his MSc in Endodontics in 1993 and worked as an in-house Endodontist in various practices before setting up in Harley St, London in 2000. He was admitted onto the specialist register in Endodontics in 1999 and has lectured extensively to postgraduate dental groups as well as lecturing on Endodontic courses at Eastman CPD, University of London. He has been involved with numerous dental groups and has been chairman of the Alpha Omega dental fraternity. In 2008 he became clinical director of EndoCare, a group of specialist practices.

 

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2167 Hits
JAN
03

Work together, not against each other

Work together, not against each other

I always try to be as open-minded about the development of our profession – I try to read extensively on many different topics to ensure I know what new ways I can care for the patients who come to me asking for help.

 

But every so often I come across certain articles and opinions that truly test my resolve. The most recent was a piece that was written to promote the work of holistic dentists and, while I am fully supportive of any dental professional who strives to improve their patients’ general health through their work, I found the particular attitude on display in this piece both cynical and unwarranted.
 

Indeed, it is an attitude I am seeing more and more often in the alternative press – how holistic or homeopathic dentists are the only ones in the profession who truly treat their patients as a whole, not just a set of disembodied teeth.
 

Admittedly, when I’m working and the patient is dozing off in the chair and I’ve got my microscope on and all I can see is the canal, it’s easy to get a little bit lost in the treatment. Of course, I’ve never completely forgotten that there is a person attached to the tooth, but sometimes – and I am sure that many of you are exactly the same – I can become so absorbed in what I am doing that the tooth is all I see.
 

But beyond the treatment, this is by no means the case. Dentists in this country are part of a caring, protecting profession and we are all aware of the links between oral health and general health. We always discuss dietary habits with our patients, explain how stress and anxiety may manifest in dental conditions such as bruxism or TMJ disorders.
 

That holistic dentists would try to monopolise this aspect of the responsibility all dental practitioners have to their patients is simply a cynical marketing tactic – and it is fundamentally inaccurate.
 

What’s worse is the attitudes many alternative practitioners have to the materials and techniques the majority of modern professionals use on a daily basis. In particular, holistic dentistry attacks amalgams, portraying them as irredeemably toxic, or fluoridated water as an institutionalised evil.
 

This attitude is undermining the profession apart from the inside. As dentists, we already have to protect ourselves from the bad reputation external sources burden us with; to have to do the same from our own colleagues is a disaster. True, we should welcome diversity and forward thinking, but this can only happen without the need to scare the public or lambast each other.

 

For further information please call EndoCare on 020 7224 0999 or visit www.endocare.co.uk

 

 

 

Dr Michael Sultan BDS MSc DFO FICD is a Specialist in Endodontics and the Clinical Director of EndoCare. Michael qualified at Bristol University in 1986. He worked as a general dental practitioner for 5 years before commencing specialist studies at Guy’s hospital, London. He completed his MSc in Endodontics in 1993 and worked as an in-house Endodontist in various practices before setting up in Harley St, London in 2000. He was admitted onto the specialist register in Endodontics in 1999 and has lectured extensively to postgraduate dental groups as well as lecturing on Endodontic courses at Eastman CPD, University of London. He has been involved with numerous dental groups and has been chairman of the Alpha Omega dental fraternity. In 2008 he became clinical director of EndoCare, a group of specialist practices.

        

 

 

 

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2405 Hits

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