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Dental Tribune United Kingdom Edition

13CommentMarch 26-April 1, 2012United Kingdom Edition 13 Lasers - Whitening - Cameras - Curing Lights Visit Call us 01227 780009 OFF o O QLQW40%Mag231211RG Upto a Whopping While we as dental profes- sionals will be able to appre- ciate the nuances of the story – and of course the fact that cases like this are incredibly rare – members of the public will very likely view the story differently. Indeed, why both- er visiting the dentist at all if this is how dentists behave? My next example of den- tistry in the media is perhaps a little more subtle. I remember quite specifi- cally a case last year where a poor woman from Brighton died in the dentist’s chair – re- portedly of an allergy to chlo- rhexidine mouthwash. Now I don’t for a moment want to downplay the newsworthi- ness of this story, or indeed the human tragedy that the story represents. What worries me more than any- thing in this case, is once again how the general public will perceive it. As dentists we fight a con- stant battle against factors that put people off attending for regular check-ups and treatment. One of the main factors in this regard is that of dental phobia – essentially, fear of the dentist. How are we to successfully fight dental phobia and other such anxie- ties when the news only ever seems to paint dentistry in a negative light? How can we highlight the great advances in dentistry, reinforce messag- es of prevention and carry on screening for problems such as oral cancer? So, what’s the solution? Obviously we cannot and in- deed should not ask for the press to be stripped of their freedoms. Instead, as in poli- tics we should demand the media show some sort of bal- ance – especially in stories that can potentially impact upon public health. For a start, I think there is a defi- nite need for a more positive approach to public health stories in the general media. I’m not talking about “brain- washing” here – what I’m asking is that the press make more of a conscious effort to write stories that reflect some of the good we healthcare professionals do, instead of always doing us down. I also ask that they reflect stories ac- curately and fairly, with extra attention given to the expla- nation of important scientific facts. In cases such as the paper- clip trial, it would help if news reporting went a little further than just highlighting the alarmist elements to the case. In the story of the woman who died from an allergy, it would help if some balance were shown either in the report- ing, or as a separate feature. This is the public health we’re dealing with after all – the wellbeing of the nation. Until the media starts to take note of some of the positives that can be found in healthcare, and starts taking a more respon- sible approach to healthcare reporting, I fear an awful lot of the good work we do will go to waste. DT About the author Dr Michael Sultan is a specialist in Endodontics and Clinical Director of EndoCare. Dr Mi- chael Sultan BDS MSc DFO FICD is a specialist in En- dodontics and the Clinical Director of EndoCare. Michael qualified at Bris- tol University in 1986. He worked as a general dental practitioner for 5 years before commencing specialist studies at Guy’s hospital, London. He com- pleted his MSc in Endodontics in 1993 and worked as an in-house Endodon- tist in various practices before setting up in Harley St, London in 2000. He was admitted onto the specialist reg- ister in Endodontics in 1999 and has lectured extensively to postgraduate dental groups as well as lecturing on Endodontic courses at Eastman CPD, University of London. He has been in- volved with numerous dental groups and has been chairman of the Alpha Omega dental fraternity. In 2008 he became clinical director of EndoCare, a group of specialist practices. For further information please call Endo- Care on 020 7224 0999 or visit ‘How are we to successfully fight dental phobia and other such anxieties when the news only ever seems to paint dentistry in a negative light? ’