Checking up with Amble Dental Practice
In 2011 Amble Dental Practice was selected by the Department of Health to be one of 70 dental practices in England to pilot new ways of delivering NHS dental care.
We felt this would be an exciting opportunity for the practice to take part in delivering evidence based preventative care that the current systems of NHS dentistry didn’t accommodate well.
After several training days and delays in software development we finally went live in August 2011. What we hadn’t anticipated was that the Oral Health Assessment appointments, which form the cornerstone of new approach, would take more than twice as long as the traditional dental check-ups to complete.
As you will know, that didn’t help waiting times or appointment books! Thank you for your patience during this time. It wasn’t ideal for anyone, but we, and the Department of Health, learnt a lot.
It quickly became apparent that the structure of the practice couldn’t continue as it was and that we needed more help.
Sadly in these financially straitened times, the Department of Health were not in a position to increase our very limited NHS funding, so we had to think of ways to increase access without any additional cost.
Thankfully our committed team have worked hard over the past two and a half years to better utilise their knowledge and skills.
We have also employed a Dental Therapist to complete a lot of the routine dental treatments freeing up our team of dentists to complete more Oral Health Assessments.
It’s been hard work, but now we are starting to see the benefits for our patients. The skills we have learnt and the preventative care we have been able to deliver have resulted in patients having healthier mouths.
This in turn has meant that fewer fillings, crowns and extractions are needed, so reducing our waiting times.
A big part of this pilot has been helping our patients to understand why they are developing dental diseases and showing each patient how to prevent further disease in their mouth: virtually all dental diseases are preventable.
Research conducted by ICM last year showed that 72% of patients agree that compared to previous NHS dental care, they now know better how to look after their (or their children’s) teeth and gums.
Amble Dental Practice