Treating more than just the symptoms – Mark AllenNews
Posted by: manpreet.boora 2nd October 2017
Estimates suggest that every single week approximately 11,000 people are visiting their GPs with dental-related problems, rather than their dentists.
The most common problem that these people have is toothache – for which GPs can only really prescribe analgesics or antibiotics to assuage the symptoms, something that we know is neither medically nor cost-effective.
Indeed, while these treatments may alleviate the symptoms of the infection and treat the patient’s pain in the short-term, it will not actually solve the problem properly. After several weeks, or maybe even months, the pain will return and the patient will most likely go back to the GP for more antibiotics. This behaviour is not only costly in terms of NHS spending, but also in regards to antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which we are told is going to become a serious issue in the next few years.
In most cases where a patient has visited their GP complaining about toothache, the problem will need to be solved with a root canal procedure. The infected tissue that is causing the patient pain is removed and the tooth is restored to ensure that the infection has no place to flourish. The success rate of such treatments is currently very high and many patients, once receiving a root canal, will not have problems with that tooth again.
However, there are still many patients who do not know that antibiotics and painkillers are not a suitable solution to their toothache. They need to know that going to the dentist and having endodontic treatment is.
As such, dentists who are offering endodontic procedures need to educate their patients about these issues and ensure that they know the benefits and, ultimately, the savings they could make in the long term, by simply opting for dental treatment over symptomatic treatments from their GPs.
It is therefore crucial for any dental professional offering this type of treatment to be fully trained and up-to-date with current practices to ensure that the first procedure is also the last. It is also important that dental professionals are equipped with the tools they need to provide these high quality treatments – that not help only solve the problem for the patient in the first instance, but also helps ensure the longevity of the treatment too.
COLTENE provides a range of high-quality endodontic products that have been specially designed to help dental professionals undertake endodontic treatments more effectively, for less. With quality products, practitioners will be able to provide their patients with the types of treatments that will successfully rectify problems such as toothache or dental abscesses.
 British Dental Association: NHS charges masking cuts and driving patients to GPs, say dentists. Published online: 06/09/16; link: https://bda.org/news-centre/press-releases/Pages/NHS-charges-masking-cuts-and-driving-patients-to-GPs.aspx [accessed 22/06/17]
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