Simon Gallier introduces the Total Health Screens concept to “drive dentistry forward”
The “ticking bomb” that is Britain's oral — and general — health isn't just counting down. It’s exploding as we speak. Dentists must demonstrate categorically to the public and NHS that dentistry is the health system’s vanguard. Or face a future relegated to the second tier of medicine.
On the 16th November the BBC reported the BDA assertion that 19 million dental treatments had been missed since March due to the pandemic . It was a much-needed but somewhat tardy move by the BDA to draw attention to its members' struggle.
Several mainstream news channels ran the story that with more than 70% of the nation's practices running at less than half capacity, Britain's oral health was a 'ticking time-bomb.' The reality is that Britain's oral — and general — health is already in crisis.
COVID-19 exposed chronic health issues that plague the general population. The most susceptible suffered with underlying but all too often undetected chronic conditions, and didn’t even know they were at risk because the health system has let them down. The current healthcare system — with GPs on the frontline and dentistry pushed to the side — has failed the population.
The NHS isn't helping people get better. The current set-up only steps in once a problem has become so severe it's impossible for the patient to ignore. It's not the GPs fault. Screening the general population for chronic disease is too mammoth a task for them alone. They simply don't have the resources to do it alongside their other duties.
But abandoning such preventative screening — and losing all the benefits they provide — is both senseless and unnecessary. We have the resources to bring the benefits of preventative health screens to almost everyone in the UK — through their dentist. Total Health Screen members are already applying this to great effect in their practices.
It's time for dental professionals to step up to their rightful — and original — place as the health system’s vanguard. Dentistry used to revolve around its health benefits. But in the last half-century, marketeers have helped to push it into an aesthetic role. And its importance to the general population has been in a steepening decline as a result. The pandemic is our opportunity to reverse that.
Dentists see half the population for a fraction of the cost of GPs. We already have the qualifications, facilities, and people to start basic preventative health screening; it's not a quantum leap. We can help people address their health issue before it hospitalises them. We're trained medical professionals, and we're in the best position to help people manage their wellbeing.
This will not only save countless lives it will also save very countable billions for the financially impacted NHS. And, perhaps most importantly, it will prevent dentistry's decline. This immediate COVID-19 danger has also made people more aware of their health and they are looking for opportunities to improve it.
Now is the time to demonstrate to your community the vital connection between oral and general health, and how it could save lives. And if the NHS won't admit the importance of oral health — we just have to show them — and it's actually very straightforward to bring oral/systemic health screening into your practice.
Total Health Screens members up and down the country are using this technique to drive their practice forward. All you need is:
• Blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol testing kits, and a tape measure (for BMI).
• Some practice in performing the screens and reading the results
The current 'fallow-time' restrictions mean there’s plenty of time during your patients' journey to perform these basic screens and talk them through the results. Our members are already performing these screens in their practices and seeing the benefits for themselves.
So, in conclusion, we must take the reins and lead the healthcare system into a better, integrated future or forever hold our peace – and settle for selling teeth whitening and Botox instead.
Simon Gallier is the current Chair and Past-President of the Metropolitan Branch of the B. He has teamed up with Brian Anderson, founder of Total Health Screens, as a director. Simon introduced Er:YAG (erbium YAG laser) and argon lasers to the UK, brought the employee-ownership model to dentistry, and worked with Superdrug to launch direct access dentistry.
Today, Simon is proud to be “pioneering frontline healthcare in dental practices with the Total Health Screens Model”. He adds: “My mission is to make bridging the gap between oral and systemic health both rewarding and profitable for dentists.”
To learn more about how British dentists are using preventative health screening to grow their practice, download the Total Health Screens free guide by visiting https://www.totalhealthscreens.com/#brochure-form
For more information, visit https://www.totalhealthscreens.com/
1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-54933313 (Accessed 25th November 2020)