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Dentist claims that flossing is a waste of time


Although most dentists would strongly advocate regular flossing to prevent dental problems, a provocative new book by Dr Ellie Phillips claims that this habit is a waste of time and makes no difference to tooth health.

Kiss Your Dentist Goodbye states that any type of gadget or dental product used to floss teeth is not going to prevent tooth decay. Using science to back her theories, Dr Phillips says that there was no difference between the number of cavities suffered by adults who flossed regularly and those that didn’t – as part of a 2006 study by the British Dental Journal. While this might be accurate, other industry professionals were quick to point out that flossing is aimed at preventing gum disease rather than decay.

Dr Graham Barnby, a Buckinghamshire dentist, said ‘in all fairness, there is no evidence that flossing is preventing tooth decay in the long run, so in a sense she does have a point. Yet although the benefits of flossing may be limited with tooth decay, flossing does have a role in the prevention of gum disease.’

Gum disease develops when plaque builds up on the teeth, irritating the gums and causing them to recede and become swollen, which can be prevented using dental floss. Studies have also shown that bacteria in the mouth have been linked to heart disease – something which can be fought with a simple flossing procedure. 

Dentist’s told to take magazines out of waiting rooms to prevent infection


Experts are advising dental clinics to remove magazines from their waiting areas in order to stop the spread of germs, but some professionals are sceptical about the recommendations; Monica Symes, a practicing dentist in Lyme Regis was told by an NHS infection control worker that she should throw out her magazines after a week.

Miss Symes said she couldn’t believe that the magazines would pose a real risk to the health of patients, saying ‘Generally we try to keep up-to-date but plenty of old magazines are quite interesting.’ She was also told that the Blu-Tack on posters could be equally dangerous if re-used over and over.

The General Dental Council said that it’s difficult to see how magazines would be a real problem and that they were a good way of helping patients relax before going in for treatment. The Care Quality Commission also said that they were not banning magazines or Blu-Tack from waiting rooms, saying ‘The only time these things would be an issue would be if they were used in such a way as to compromise someone using the service – and it’s pretty hard to see what these circumstances might be.’

Dorset PTC recommends that waiting areas are kept clutter-free, saying that ‘There is no specific requirement for practices to remove magazines within a specified period. However, practice owners, as part of a regular cleaning schedule, should ensure that the magazines are in good condition and free from obvious contamination. This advice will be kept under review and may be modified in the event of any future community infection outbreak.’

Dentist adds the King’s crown to his collection


The Canadian dentist who bought John Lennon’s rotten molar for $30,000 has added another famous dental item to his collection – the spare crown that Elvis took on tour in case he damaged his front teeth, complete with plaster mould of the King’s jaws. It has not yet been revealed how much Dr Michael Zuk paid for the item, but he admitted that his wife was not too happy with his decision to bid on the crown, urging him not to waste his money on ‘another stupid tooth’.

Despite his wife’s misgivings, Dr Zuk couldn’t help himself when the Elvis memorabilia came up for auction yesterday in Stockport, he collected this piece and the extracted tooth of Beatles legend John Lennon because he feels that the two men where important icons that should be remembered. Since purchasing the crown, Dr Zuk has been asked to take part in a documentary about celebrity DNA, to discuss the significance of the dental artefact in relation to popular culture.

Dr Zuk is also thought to be selling limited edition commemorative prints of the Lennon molar under the banner of ‘Rot Star Art’, which will go on sale as a celebration of the Beatles arriving in the US in February 1964. The molar – which also has its own Twitter following – is currently being considered for the Guinness book of records, as long as it can be cross-referenced with the DNA of a living relative, to ensure its origins.

Dentist prepares for rise in demand for lingual braces


A Yorkshire dentist is bracing herself for an influx of patients requesting lingual braces, as celebrities like Myleene Klass and Karen Millen have spoken about their discreet orthodontic treatment – even royalty has taken advantage of this new product, apparently Kate Middleton wore them in the months preceding her wedding.

Lingual braces work in the same way as traditional metal wires and brackets, but instead of being cemented to the front of the teeth, they are fixed to the back of them, out of sight. The brackets are built to fit on each individual tooth, rather than using a generic design that would fit any teeth, which does mean they are typically more expensive than ‘train track’ braces. According to Megan Hatfield, of Wetherby Orthodontics, patients with lingual braces make up around a fifth of her workload with adults in the area.

Megan commented that people often perceive brace-wearers to be teenagers, and older patients were neglecting dental misalignments because they were worried about how it would look. She also suggested that many people were from a ‘lost generation’ that weren’t offered treatment when they were children. ‘I have treated actresses and those who are in the public eye,’ she said, ‘but most are just ordinary people who have made the decision to do something about their teeth and are willing to pay a bit more for discreet treatment.’

Steve Tyler rocks on after dental implants


Aerosmith frontman Steve Tyler has had two dental implants fitted after knocking his teeth out falling out of the shower. The bands Paraguay tour date had to be rescheduled as Tyler recovered from his accident in hospital. According to Bourbon hotel bellboy, Gustavo Perez, the singer slipped whilst stepping out the shower and had ‘a nasty fall’.

The 63-year-old rocker has a Paraguayan dentist to thank for replacing his broken teeth and is thought to be recovering well after staying at the La Costa medical centre for nearly four hours. He received stitches to his face and emergency dental treatment from Maria Bastos, a local dentist.

Organisers of the Paraguay concert were quick to point out that Tyler was unwell before the fall, due to a bout of food poisoning which may have caused him to become dehydrated. Spokesperson Marcelo Antunez was left to make the announcement, describing Tyler’s fall as a ‘small accident’ and adding that he was doing ‘fine’.

If his appearance at a concert in Bogota is anything to go by, he looks to be on the mend. Just a week or so after his accident only a small bruise remained, and his teeth looked to be in tip-top condition. He and his family were very appreciative of all the support he received during his treatment, thanking the fans and local medical services via the media and social networking sites.

Thousand waiting for NHS dentists


Over 4,000 people living in Plymouth are on the waiting list for a place with an NHS dentist, the National Health Service has revealed. Although this figure has dropped from 6,300 from last year, a large portion of those registered signed up seven months ago and are still waiting.

Only 53% of Plymouth residents are thought to be using dental services – a two percent drop from last year – due at least in part to the potential cost of treatment. Those waiting to be allocated a dentist are being encouraged to ring around their practices to see if any spaces have become available, as it has been suggested that city centre offices are more inclined to take on new patients if they are contacted directly. In the NHS Plymouth dental report, Vikki Johnson says; ‘Whilst allocation of people is sporadic and not easily predictable, we continually talk with practices persuading them to take, usually, several hundred people as their capacity allows and the number is gradually reducing.’

Furthermore, the report showed that only 50% of people who were given a spot with a surgery had taken advantage of it, Ms Johnson commented that this makes it even harder to allocate spaces and could impact further on waiting times. She added ‘NHS Plymouth strongly encourages any patient who is seeking an NHS dentist to contact practices directly. But it is generally perceived to be a mixture of the economic climate forcing patients to be more aware of their spending, the deferments of check-ups, and resultant under-delivery of targeted activity.’

Economy blamed for drop in dentist visits


Health officials in Darlington are blaming the economy for a drop in the number of people attending dental appointments. Families in particular are feeling the pinch as the price of consultations and other treatment rises beyond what they can comfortably afford. As a result, more ways of encouraging people to visit the surgery are being considered. County Durham and Darlington’s director of public health, Dr David Landes, published the figures in his report for the Council’s Health and Partnerships Scrutiny Committee, in an attempt to explain why children’s dental health in the area was slipping below acceptable standards.

A 2008/2009 survey revealed that children under the age of twelve suffering with tooth decay made up more than 40% of that age group, the worst in the country after Middlesborough. The figures were thought to be the result of fluoridated water. However, other results were no more promising; 54% of youngsters not in school were not being seen by the dentist, that number rose even further when the children joined mainstream education. More worrying, between the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 period the number of people visiting the dentist had dropped dramatically, more than 10% in some age groups.

Dr Landes blames this on the rocky economic climate, causing people to tighten their belts. He says; ‘If you need a course of treatment and you’re not exempt, the current fee is £47 and it’s a considerable amount of money, and it could be nearer £100 if you’re with a family. We’re promoting informal sessions, so at least if people are not exempt they’re not going to have that potentially embarrassing discussion in the waiting room.’

Heart your smile says the dental community


The BDA Dental Showcase in Birmingham has launched a campaign to boost confidence amongst UK dentists. The Heart Your Smile initiative was created by several industry professionals who were concerned about the lack of confidence dentists were reportedly experiencing countrywide. Its founders are hoping to inspire dentists in their everyday practice by implementing nine core values to boost their drive and performance, labeled the ‘Nine habits of a happy dental professional.’

Managing director of the dental division of Henry Schein UK, Simon Gambold, said ‘It’s about stimulating positive conversations in the profession, about the profession.’ Showcase attendees were invited to sign the manifesto and show their support by wearing a Heart Your Smile badge. Dental professionals were also encouraged to share their stories at a film studio that was set up at the event, designed to lift other workers with interesting and entertaining tales from the world of dentistry. Marketing guru Chris Barrow said ‘Over the past few weeks we have ‘planted’ some posts on social media about what would inspire confidence in the dental profession and the answers have been very revealing.’

BDA’s Linda Stranks was hopeful that ‘A patient-facing campaign will also emerge from this which dental professionals can use to promote positive messages about overall healthcare and regular visits to the dentist.’

NHS cuts could hit vulnerable dental patients


UK dentists have spoken about their worry over the impact of NHS cuts on their most vulnerable patients. A recent survey carried out by the British Dental Association has revealed that most dentists think the budget cuts will affect services badly, limiting access to much needed treatments. 

Although job security was a major worry for the majority of those who took part, most dentists were thinking about the effect on their patients before themselves; 83% of respondents said there were longer waiting times for appointments, whilst 72% felt that there was a reduction in available treatments. 58% of those asked thought that the standard of care had been compromised following the announcement of large NHS budget cuts.

The survey was aimed at surgeons whose work centres on patients with special needs, showing that two thirds of dentists in this sector were concerned with their patients being denied access to dental care and as a result being neglected within the system.

fortunately, it seems their voices are not going unheard, as the British Dental Association has said it will be writing to the Department of Health to persuade against Primary Care Trusts making cuts to the services of special needs dental surgeries.

Dentist struck off after fitting dental veneers on children


Dentist struck off after fitting dental veneers on childrenA dentist in Birmingham has been struck off the medical register after fitting dental veneers on children in order to make money.

Stuart Elliot Johnstone was found guilty of dishonestly carrying out treatment on young people between April 2005 and June 2007, reports.

The General Dental Council (GDC) heard that Mr Johnstone had carried out the cosmetic dentistry on 11 patients for financial gain, with one aged eight years old.

In some cases patients were given dental veneers despite decaying teeth, the court heard, with one woman's life being put at risk due to the development of an infection.

The GDC said [to the dentist]: "You were in a position of trust towards your patients and the public. You abused that trust.

"For all these reasons, the committee places this case high in the scale of dishonesty."

Dental veneers are a popular type of cosmetic dental treatment, during which a trained practitioner fits laminates to the front of existing teeth to improve a person's smile. ADNFCR-2621-ID-800557142-ADNFCR

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