How Did they get it Wrong Naughty Dentists

Dentistry in the UK has unfortunately got a bit of a negative reputation. There are many horror stories of terrible dental work and it seems the NHS is the root cause of this due to its unavailability, the low quality work it seems to encourage through its UDA system and the fact that most NHS dentists are foreign nationals without as much talent of sometimes even unequal qualifications as our born and bred UK dentists.
In the UK we pride ourselves on our education system, especially our University education programmes. We are lucky to have some of the top universities in the world operating on our small island and as a result we benefit from having some of the best brains in the world living and working in the UK. Unfortunately, in recent years the standards of one of our most difficult to get into careers – dentistry has been falling. As a practice manager at a top cosmetic dental practice I find it hard to believe some of the cases we have had come through our door. Quite often we will have patients come to our surgery who have spent thousands of pounds on what is quite simply shoddy dental work. It is then our principle dentist’s job to try and sort out the mess and regain the patient’s faith in dentists.
I often see patients who are having trouble with their teeth due to their dentist making silly, inexcusable mistakes such as fitting implants to someone who is not suitable, botching crown work or failing to notice decay and disease. It is unsurprising therefore that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has emerged in a bid to root out and penalise dentists who are not operating in the correct ways. Unfortunately however, the CQC seem to be more focused on implementing and enforcing a largely unimportant and irrelevant manifesto that, rather than protecting patients from bad work, seems to be more focused on punishing dentists for not living up to strict regulations on things such as (and I quote from their website) “making sure food and drink meets people’s needs.” Now this to me sounds like more government nonsense that really is a waste of time adhering to. Surely dentists and their staff can work out whether milk has gone off? And surely they can work out if their cereal is out of date? And I really would expect any person working at a dental practice, whether they are a fully qualified dentist, a nurse or even a cleaner can work out for themselves how to eat and drink correctly. It is therefore crazy to expect a dentist to pay the CQC large sums of money every year in order to have the pleasure of being regulated by, what seems to be quite frankly, another out of touch government mumbo-jumbo committee.
In order to safeguard patients from bad treatment I believe they only way to start making a difference is to look at other areas. I strongly believe that the main reason we have some incompetent dentists is due to the extremely high entry requirements needed to gain a place on a dental degree. Dental schools only accept only the very highest performers at A-Level requiring a minimum of three A’s, two of which must be in maths and chemistry, the final one can either be in biology or physics . Because of these extremely high entry requirements, dentistry in the UK is being shot right through the foot. Whilst it may seem important to ask for such high exam results in order to apply for such a long, strenuous course, I also believe that we need not just academics but practical dentists who can actually do dentistry. What seems to be happening is that we are training up super-intelligent people to become dentists who may be able to study extremely well and pass exams with flying colours whilst gaining every letter after their name under the sun. At some point though, the question has to be asked – can these super-geeks actually do practical work? Unfortunately it seems many of these dentist’s cannot. In order to gain a higher standard of dentistry in this country I think it imperative to start making changes in the university requirements in order to attract physically and not just mentally able dentists. Let’s face it, you can have all the qualifications in the world if you are super intelligent but that does not necessarily mean you will be any good at actually doing the extremely hands on and almost artistic work that is modern dentistry.

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