BADT shows support for BADN Menopause Policy

The British Association of Dental Therapists (BADT) has announced its support for the BADN Menopause Policy launched in March this year.

The Policy outlines the challenges faced by menopausal women in the workplace and suggests ways in which employers can support menopausal employees.  Dental practices, laboratories, clinics, organisations and dental industry companies are asked to adopt the Policy and implement it in their workplace.

BADT President Debbie Hemington said, “BADT are proud to support this superb initiative by the BADN. As a predominantly female profession still, this will impact so many of our members and their families and having some written guidance to share with workplaces will be invaluable to anyone who needs it. BADN are to be commended on highlighting the impact of this topical issue and in raising awareness among the whole dental team. Dental practices could now lead the way by adopting the policy and showing that progress within the field is not confined to clinical techniques.”

BADN’s Menopause Policy is also supported by the British Society of Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT), the College of General Dentistry (CGDent), the Dental Laboratories Association (DLA), the Dental Technologists’ Association (DTA), the Orthodontic National Group (ONG), and the British Veterinary Nurses’ Association (BVNA).

The advice sheet/policy is available on the BADN website www.badn.org.uk

Safe Smiles: new campaign set to champion the benefits of safe dentistry

The British Orthodontic Society and The Oral Health Foundation are launching a new campaign to help patients make safer choices when it comes to their dental treatment

The public awareness campaign, named Safe Smiles, will highlight the benefits of safe dentistry and treatment when carried out in dental practices by trained and registered professionals.

Safe Smiles is a dental sector response to concerns about the growth of direct-to-consumer alternatives, with the campaign’s two organisers worried about patients performing treatments at home – potentially putting themselves in danger.

The campaign was announced at this year’s British Orthodontic Society’s annual conference (16 September) in Manchester, in a joint press conference between the Oral Health Foundation and the British Orthodontic Society.

Recent research by the Oral Health Foundation reveals one-in-four (25%) UK households have opted for some form of DIY dentistry during lockdown.

The nationwide study also shows over half (55%) of adults feel they have neglected their teeth during lockdown. Around one-in-seven (15%) admit to not brushing their teeth as much as before the pandemic.  One-in-five (20%) are eating unhealthier foods, and more than one-in-ten (11%) have been drinking more alcohol. 1

Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation is worried the potential decline in oral health status may lead to poor consumer choices, with many favouring shortcuts and attracted by direct-to-consumer alternatives.

Dr Carter says: “We are really concerned by evidence suggesting the UK’s oral health habits have declined during the pandemic. Symptoms associated with dental disease – mainly pain and changes in visual appearance – are leading patients to seek quick and cheap home cosmetic treatments advertised online. This is a great cause for concern and one of the key driving forces behind Safe Smiles.

“Dental treatment of any kind must involve face-to-face contact with a trained clinical professional inside the dental practice. This is to ensure patient safety and the most effective treatment.  It is important that the profession continues to champion safe dentistry and advise patients against direct-to-consumer treatments and alternatives shared on social media.

“When carried out correctly, cosmetic dental treatment can give patients the white, straight and confident smile they have always dreamed about. Safe Smiles will make sure patients are given the very best advice about the safest and most effective way to have dental treatment.”

Further findings from The British Orthodontic Society suggest that adults have become more conscious of their smile during lockdown. Over half of orthodontists (60%) say they have seen a larger than expected demand for treatment during the pandemic. It is suspected those affected could be looking for solutions to treat dental problems and improve the appearance of their smile.  

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Anshu Sood, Director of Clinical Practice at the British Orthodontic Society, says: “We’re delighted to be extending our long-standing campaign with the Oral Health Foundation. It’s heartening to see overwhelming endorsement from the dental sector. This couldn’t be more timely. Our recent stats revealed the pandemic has seen a rise in the number of people seeking orthodontic treatment. With this demand comes a growth in online companies offering treatments.

“Embarking on treatment without seeing a suitably trained clinician could result in serious conditions being missed or dangerous treatment carried out. We want to ensure patients have the very best advice about the safest and most effective way to have treatment. We know that, when carried out correctly, orthodontic treatment can have a positive and life-changing impact.”  

Data shows that more than four-in-five (84%) UK adults want to change something about their smile. Over the next year, more than one-in-three (35%) are thinking about having their teeth whitened while around one-in-six (16%) are considering orthodontic treatment. 1

Safe Smiles will be asking all patients considering treatments to visit dental practices in the UK and have treatment carried out by clinicians registered with the GDC.

The campaign will tackle the dangers associated with dental tourism, inappropriately fitting mouthguards bought online, as well as harmful aesthetic changes to the mouth like lip tattoos, oral piercings, tooth jewellery, modifications and grillz.

The new campaign is being supported by Align Technology and has gathered support from across the dental world. The campaign has already received endorsement from the British Dental Industry Association, British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, British Dental Bleaching Society, British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, British Association of Dental Nurses, and British Association of Dental Therapists.

Edmund Proffitt, BDIA Chief Executive, says: “The British Dental Industry Association is delighted to be supporting Safe Smiles. With ever growing interest in cosmetic dental work, the dental industry feels that it is very important that patients can achieve a healthy smile in a safe environment. Be it orthodontic work, tooth whitening or any other aesthetic dental treatment, working with trained dental professionals within a dental practice is a great way to get safe and effective treatment.

“With some unsafe and unregulated online and ‘do-it-yourself’ treatments available, and unfortunately, a number of unregulated practitioners offering treatments, we thoroughly recommend that patients engage directly with dental professionals to get the best, safest healthy smile.”

Jacqui Elsden, BADN President: “We’re thrilled to be supporting safe smiles. With the rise in popularity of unsafe do it yourself treatments and unregulated providers, we hope that this campaign will help patients become more aware of these dangers and think twice before they purchase them. We recommend that patients engage in this initiative and take steps to safely pursue treatment options.”

Zaki Kanaan, Chairman of the British Dental Bleaching Society: “There is no doubt that one of the most common cosmetic dental procedures that is carried out routinely in dental practices is tooth whitening. Done properly, by a dental care professional, tooth whitening is one of the least invasive ways to improve one’s smile. This popularity has led to the growth of direct-to-consumer options that often get around the legality by using non-peroxide based products that not only have little to no efficacy in whitening one’s teeth but many OTC products are in fact harmful to teeth and their surrounding structures. Members of the public seeking OTC products are leaving themselves open to harm with virtually no recourse when things go wrong.  Over many years at The British Dental Bleaching Society we have been striving to highlight to the public this exact issue and we therefore fully support The Safe Smiles Campaign.”

A special toolkit has been created to help dental professionals support the campaign and share the importance of safe dentistry.

The toolkit is available on the campaign website at www.dentalhealth.org/safesmiles.

Reference:

  1. ORAL HEALTH FOUNDATION (2020) ‘National Dental Survey’ Atomik Research. UK. Sample 2,004.

Dental Protection and BADT announce partnership

Dental Protection and the British Association of Dental Therapists have announced a partnership, including a 15% discount for BADT members on their Dental Protection subscription.

Dental Protection and BADT have partnered to offer support to dental therapists and hygienists, many of whom have returned to practise, despite significant challenges including new ways of working, and a significant backlog of patients as routine treatment resumes.

The British Association of Dental Therapists (BADT) was established in 1962, and its first annual general meeting included discussions about protection against personal risk— what is now provided by professional indemnity.  BADT is still run by working dental therapists and hygienists to represent its members. Their work includes raising awareness of members, skills and assets, as well as advising on national policy. 

Dr Raj Rattan MBE, Dental Director at Dental Protection, said: “I am delighted that Dental Protection will be offering a generous discount to members of the BADT. It is a reflection of the value we place on this partnership. It also emphasises the importance of teamwork in clinical practice today and in the future. We look forward to developing some joint initiatives to further support members of the BADT.”

Debbie McGovern, President of the British Association of Dental Therapists, said: “The BADT is extremely happy to be working with Dental Protection to bring discounts to their members. Dental Protection, as part of the Medical Protection Society, were the first organisation to provide access to indemnity to dental therapists, so it is particularly fitting that we have now formed this valuable professional relationship. We look forward to working together to support our members.”

BSDHT and BADT contact GDC concerning overseas dentists registering as Dental Therapists and Hygienists without practical assessment

The British Association of Dental Therapists (BADT) and the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) have taken the unusual step of directly contacting each appointed Council member of the General Dental Council regarding overseas dentists registering as Dental Therapists and Dental Hygienists without any practical assessment of clinical skills.

Both BADT and BSDHT feel that continuing interactions with the executive function of the GDC regarding this matter have failed to produce any positive movement towards change in a situation that both organisations feel compromises patient safety. By directly raising awareness to the appointed Council members, BADT and BSDHT hope to move the discussion into the public forum to ensure change, in order to “protect patient safety and maintain public confidence in dental services”.

The letter reads as follows:

The British Association of Dental Therapists and the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy are jointly lobbying all members of Council to initiate an urgent and public Council meeting agenda item regarding the registration of overseas trained dentists (outwith the EEA) as dental hygienists and dental therapists without any practical assessment of their ability to diagnose and treat dental disease.

There has been a 300% increase via this route to registration since 2017 and is being fuelled by several agencies actively recruiting individuals predominantly from India and Pakistan. These agencies advertise and demonstrate that this route to registration requires no Overseas Registration Exam (ORE). We have evidence of dentists who have failed the ORE more than once yet gone on to register as dental hygienists and dental therapists. When asked, the GDC refuses to share the legal advice they were given that led to this flood of registrations.

Are you, a member of Council, satisfied the “robust” process applied by the Registration Assessment Committee satisfies your remit of protecting patients? We, the BADT and BSDHT, advise all members of Council that this route to registration presents risk of serious harm to patients because of the lack of a practical skills assessment. We strongly feel that the mapping of learning outcomes carried out by the Registration Committee is woefully inadequate. We do not accept the representation by GDC executive arm that a lack of evidence of harm being caused by these individuals demonstrates the above is a safe route to registration as a dental hygienist and dental therapist.

13 of the 15 tests applied at an ORE are applicable to the scope of practice of dental hygienists and dental therapists. Various Freedom of Information Requests that have been shared publicly clearly demonstrate that around 50% of those taking the ORE fail at the practical assessment stage. We say that this is evidence enough that there is an obvious risk of patients coming to permanent harm should these individuals go on to register as dental hygienists and dental therapists. We ask:

Would you choose an individual who has failed the ORE, gone on to register as a dental therapist, to extract your children’s teeth; would you let them provide you with a filling? We ask you apply the daughter test to the above question.

Would you allow your daughter to undergo treatment by such an individual?

We contend that Section 36C (5)(a)(ii) of the Dentist Act gives the GDC the power to enforce a test on these individuals. We ask that the GDC suspend this route to registration in the interest of patient safety and treats this matter with the upmost urgency.