THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW Highlighting best practice
but widely different beasts. As such, dental practice has had to change – we’re not just making holes in teeth and filling them any more. Public health initiatives in decades past have worked incredibly well, and the conditions we saw in people 15 years ago are rarer than they ever have been. With new dental technology, however, comes a fresh raft of diseases and conditions. In terms of the dental profession itself, the changes have been significant. There has been a boom in postgraduate dental training, but as a result, we are seeing something of a gap with regards to undergraduate dentistry education. Dentists are qualifying with excellent theoretical knowledge but a lack of practical skills. We’re seeing a huge drop in the output of dentistry as a result, and a lot of the general practice work is being picked up by qualifying hygienists instead. I have seen the number of dentists with appropriate skills plummet rapidly during my time in the sector, and it’s for this reason that we’re starting to see more and more people go into postgraduate education. It all comes full circle. In terms of the sector more widely, we’re also seeing people shift away from the NHS. The fact that the NHS dentistry budget has stayed at £2 or £3 billion for the past 20 years suggests that primary care dentistry is largely transitioning to a private system. How are patients changing? Finally, how are patients changing? This is a big question and there’s no single answer – but let’s start with dental work undertaken abroad. This is becoming more and more common, as is the recovery work we’re seeing in the wake of it. The NHS continues How are we changing?
With Dr Jeanie Suvan and Professor Klaus Lang. A real privilege to work with and learn from the true giants of periodontology
at Mark Tangri Dental Excellence. As such, we run a teaching programme for postgraduate dentists, where we focus on two key areas: dental implants and conscious sedation.
We are specialists and well equipped to carry out such treatments, but our complex multidisciplinary treatment planning makes prevention the number one priority at Mark Tangri Dental Excellence
The changing face of dentistry: prevention, prevention, prevention
To discuss how dentistry is changing, I want to focus on three major questions: » » How is what we do changing? » » How are we changing? » » How are the patients changing?
How is what we do changing?
Firstly, the profile of the diseases we cover are changing dramatically. One particular example is peri-implantitis. Around 20 years ago, dental implants exploded onto the scene. They were a great replacement for missing teeth, and a serious push forward in dental technology. While they did fulfil an incredibly helpful function, they were and are not a true replacement for perfectly healthy, organic teeth. After some time, peri-implantitis – an implant-specific inflammatory condition – started to emerge. The oral diseases we’re seeing in people entering our clinic are similar,