Dental care lottery

Tackling cancer is a massive goal of our modern society, but as medical and scientific interventions aimed at stopping the disease improve, we see the wrecks left lying in its wake. Survival rates are up, which is fantastic and to be lauded, but as medicine improves we have the greater challenges of perhaps larger surgical interventions to deal with. This alone can be devastating, and at this time, particularly in the head and neck, the psychological, functional (ability to eat and swallow) and the visual impact a re major challenges.

As a clinician I am fortunate to appreciate to some degree the benefits of replacing missing teeth, helping patients to regain their ability to eat, and have some degree of societal normality. Implant dentistry has been a major factor in enabling such patients to achieve this seemingly simple goal of having a smile and being able to eat. Postcode restrictions are unfair and I support the goals of the signatories of this recently published letter, and urge you to support the campaign.

NIGEL ROSENBAUM BDS MFGDP(UK) MMedSci (Oral & Maxillofacial Implantology) MRD RCS Eng (Prosthodontics)

Specialist in Prosthodontics

Letter to the Daily Telegraph Monday 6 April 2015

Dental care lottery

SIR – Dentists, surgeons and patients are concerned that there continues to be a postcode lottery of care for specialist dental treatment on the NHS.

We are aware that in some parts of the country, patients with head and neck cancer, traumatic injuries and disfigurement of the face and mouth do not have access to dental implant treatment, whereas in other areas this is a standard treatment.

For affected patients, dental implants can make all the difference to speaking clearly, eating normally, returning to work and recovering from the psychological impact of their conditions. The question is not one of aesthetics but of need.

Existing clinical guidelines should be made clearer and applied consistently so that every patient who requires treatment is assessed by a consultant in restorative dentistry and receives the care needed, regardless of where they live. We are keen to work with NHS England to find a solution for those patients who are denied essential dental care, including implants.

Professor Nigel Hunt, Dean, Faculty of Dental Surgery Royal College of Surgeons of England

Ulpee Darbar, Chairman, Restorative Dentistry UK

Stewart Barclay, Honorary Secretary, Restorative Dentistry UK

Mr Peter Briggs, President, British Society of Prosthodontics

Dr Trevor W Ferguson, Dean, Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK)
Royal College of Surgeons of England

Paul Pracy, President, British Association of Head and Neck Oncologists

Ken Hemmings, President, British Society for Restorative Dentistry

Mike Davidson, Chairman, British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Dr James Partridge, Chief Executive, Changing Faces

Serpil Djemal, Chairwoman, Dental Trauma UK

Professor Iain Hutchison, Honorary Chief Executive, Saving Faces-The Facial Surgery Research Foundation

Director, The National Facial Oral and Oculoplastic Research Centre