The above article was printed in the “body and soul” section of The Times, Tuesday June 1st 2010. The piece was written by Simon Crompton, and involved an interview with Julian Webber, a specialist endodontist practicing in Harley Street. The core of the article centered around the need for patients to have all of their options explained to them prior to treatment and for dentists to ensure that they have the necessary skills to provide the work required. This is an area central to my own philosophy and is the corner stone to StoneRock’s guiding principle of “excuse free dentistry”.
At StoneRock our aim is to listen to every patient to find out exactly what it is they want and then provide them with all of their possible treatment options, including information on cost, likely outcomes and any risks associated with the procedure. We make clear the need for a commitment to a prevention plan to get the best out of any result. On the flip side of that we also make clear to all members of the clinical team that they need to provide work that they are proficient at only, not merely competent at. We strive to make all the work environments full kitted out with all necessary equipment to ensure the best working practices can be met. All of this takes time and costs money, which is, of course, reflected in the fees but we feel this is how we would to be treated so is how we should treat you.
The article suggested a series of 6 questions, which you should ask your dentist and I agree with them all. I have listed these below.
1)What are all the options? We provide a written list of these along with “pros and cons” and costings.
2) What are the relative merits and costs? You must always consider the two costs – Financial i.e. how many £s and Biologic i.e. what will it do to my tooth.
3) What traditional training have you had in this procedure since qualifying? This is a really important one and amazingly one that I am rarely, if ever, asked. For the record I undertake 50-75 hours of extra training per year, which way exceeds the recommended level of 15 hours per year. Another useful question is how many times have you performed this procedure? As a rough guideline anything over 500 times is considered enough to gain proficiency in a procedure.
4) Could you refer me to a specialist for a second opinion? Failure to offer a second, specialist opinion, can be considered negligent in certain cases. At StoneRock we are lucky enough to have in house specialist who we can work with on any complex case.
5) Can I be referred on the NHS? Perhaps the trickiest question of all. Clearly the answer should, for anything other than aesthetic work, be yes but in practical terms it isn’t. Referral pathways exist but usually to vastly over prescribed centers with very strict acceptance guidelines. At StoneRock we are committed to how we provide our services and these are not achievable under the current NHS system. If someone wants NHS treatment we will provide a referral but cannot offer any guarantees that the work will be done as was planned and may not be provided at all.