Jun 23, 2009

Why no dental chapters?

It may be that I missed it or it may be that in some schools dentistry is part of a bigger faculty but it seems to me when I look through the Open School chapter list there are NO dental schools. Please feel free to let me know if I’m wrong.
Should we care? Does it matter? Well, firstly I care because I’m a dentist and secondly I care because quality and safety are vital to all health professionals not just a few. The average healthcare economy has 252 professions, including the sub-specialities. Here in Scotland we have 57 recognised professions not including nurses, dentists, doctors and pharmacists. We need to work hard to be inclusive not exclusive.
David Satcher, the US Surgeon General in 2000 called oral disease the ‘silent epidemic’. Dental caries (tooth decay) is the most prevalent preventable disease in the world.

Even a brief review of the world news today shows multiple dental stories of interest:

The BBC health pages are leading with a story outlining new evidence that there is no point in filling baby teeth. Please let me know what you think of this. Is it robust science? Should we stop filling baby teeth?

If you want to understand more about the UK’s approach to dentistry take a look at this link.

The Washington Post has a fascinating call from the US dental leaders for the reformers in the US not to forget dentistry in the drive for change.

What do you think? Should dentistry get less funding or more? Should universal insurance cover dentistry. This article contains some interesting comparisons like the fact that oral cancer kills more Americans than cervical cancer.

The delivery of dental care varies greatly around the world. Even in otherwise free systems like the UK many people pay for their dental care. Dentistry has particular challenges around quality including cross-infection, waiting times, quality of care and many more. Some have tried hard to tackle these shortcomings. Sami Bahri describes in his book 'Follow the Learner' his journey to ‘Lean’ dental practice. It’s a fascinating story of how to transform the care for a population and for a dental team. Read an interview with him here.

Please talk to your dental schools, sign them up, invite them to your meetings and encourage them to think about healthcare quality and safety.

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