A double page spread in Tuesday (April14th 2009) Daily Mail Good Health section highlights some of the sorry tales from NHS dentistry. All the tales are very sad and reflect the problems of funding under the new contract. The article is the usual mix of exaggeration and dramatic wording (teeth are never extracted in the Daily Mail they are always “ripped out”) but this does not undermine the truth of the situation. I highlighted this problem in April 2007 with the introduction of new costs for root canal fillings and the rise in extractions that this would bring and it is no surprise to see this now happening.
If you run a health care business you can not ignore the financial side for long before your business goes bust. Dentists undertake all of the funding, loans, mortgages etc to set their practices up without any assistance from anyone. If they do not make a profit they will loose their business and sometimes their homes as well. Under these situations it is inevitable that a system that leaves vast sections of dental care loss making to the dentist, is going to lead to under treatment- surely no one can be surprised by this or say that it was not inevitable.
The lead part of the article relates to a young lady of 21 who has lost all her teeth through gum disease. This is a truly extreme case and one that in 20 years of treating gum disease in general practice, hospital clinics and specialist clinics I have never seen but it does highlight the need for early diagnosis of gum disease. The key risk factors for gum disease and early signs are listed below. I would recommend anyone who has concerns over the gums to seek a dental consultation to have their gums assessed. At StoneRock this costs £89, which buys an hour of our time along with all the necessary intra-oral radiographs, photographs and full discussion of your dental health followed by a full written report. Even in times like these this strikes me as excellent value for money and probably the best £89 any one will ever spend on their teeth.
Risk Factors for gum disease-
- Family history of gum disease
- Gums bleeding on brushing
- Tender swollen gums
- Most gum disease is symptomless in the early stages so even if you do not have these signs, please get them checked.
- By the time teeth become loose or painful it is often too late.
If you would like to find out more about your gums the please do not hesitate to contact the surgery on 01580 752202 and we will be happy to arrange a consultation visit for you.