In the last blog entry I discussed the advice on the re-use of files and reamers (root filling instruments) that was given by the Chief Dental Officer, Barry Cockcroft. I have been trying to get a response from the General Dental Council or NICE or the British Dental Association and have had no joy to date. I have been told that all three organisations are looking to give a response in the next week or so but all appear to have been caught a little bit by surprise by the letter and it’s contents.
The one response that I have had to date is from my professional indemnity organisation,The Dental Protection Union (DPU) who have taken the stance that this letter should be taken at it’s word and the advice followed fully. This is a sad state of affairs as it puts an enormous strain on all those providing this type of work and a great financial burden on all patients at a time when there is no definitive evidence to support this move and literally millions of completed cases without one single record of vCJD being spread this way. The environmental impact of massively increasing the number of nickel-titanium files needed and then disposed off will be significant but does not seem to be considered.
Sadly,as is so often the way, the lawyers have had the biggest input and we at StoneRock feel duty bound to follow their advice. What this means is that all root canal fillings will need a set of new files each visit with the costs of this to be born by the patient. I am sorry that this has been forced upon us and hope (against hope) that some further input from the GDC and BDA will clarify the position but as it stands we have no choice. What I can say with 100% belief is that I have no concerns over previous treatments provided as StoneRock has always exceeded the (current) guidelines on cross infection control and I was happy to treat members of my own family this way and to have treatment on myself this way.
I guess it is always true that we cannot judge yesterday’s treatment by today’s knowledge but sometimes we should look back over the changes we have made over the past 20 years and wonder if they have all been in the patient’s and society’s best interest.