Wednesday, 22 March 2017

A Week in the Life of a Community Dental Officer

So many of you know, since the end of last year I've been working in the Community Dental Services in East London. But what does my average week look like?


Monday and Tuesday

Mondays and Tuesdays I see patients in Hackney; mostly special care adults

Read one of my previous posts to see what type of patients we see in special care (click here). I see a lot of vulnerable adults such as patients who are housebound or with severe mental health problems who require transport to help get them to clinics and so appointment can be lengthy to ensure we get as much treatment done as possible. 

For these patients I may need to use a hoist or body board to help transfer them to the dental chair if they are unable to themselves but also I have to consider whether these patients have capacity to consent for treatment. We often have to have joint appointments with other clinicians for best interest meetings. 

I provide all general dental treatments and I am lucky to be able to refer any complex endodontic cases to one of my specialist colleagues in the service. 


Wednesday

I have one day a week working almost exclusively with children in Tower Hamlets, one of the worst boroughs in London in terms of dental health. These can be children who have learning difficulties or other complex medical problems, children who are very anxious or have not coped with treatment with their GDP as well as children with complex social issues. 

I am lucky that at this clinic I also work alongside an Orthodontist who is able to help me out with treatment planning some children (especially poor prognosis 6s) and I have been able to work with her to provide simple removable orthodontic appliances. 

To learn more about the dental management of autistic patients read here

In the evenings, I also work in emergency dental settings: one an emergency walk in service run by a community dental service, the other an out of hours clinic which patients can access via 111. To read about my tips in the management of dental emergencies read here


Thursday

Thursdays are spent on Brick Lane at a dental clinic above a homeless and substance abuse service. This means I see a lot of patients who are temporary housed or living on the streets as well as those who are drug abusers or alcoholics. 

These patients often have severe dental disease, but not always. When I see these patients I try to link with their key worker or social worker as they are often poor attenders and similar to what I mentioned above, I try to do as much treatment as I can when I get to see them.

To read about my experience treating the homeless at Christmas, click here


Friday

Back in Hackney on Fridays, again treating mostly special care adults. As well as vulnerable adults we also see dental phobic patients where we need to use our behaviour management skills as well as means such as use of The Wand and conscious sedation in order to treat these patients. 

To read about the updated IACSD guidelines, read my recent post here


Saturday

If you read my post last year as a dental core trainee, you will already know I work in a general practice on Saturdays providing both NHS and private dental care. 

This keeps up my more complex dental skills e.g. composites, crown and bridgework, which I rarely use in patients with special care needs. 

To read 5 reasons to work at the weekend, read here


What's your week like? Leave your comments in the section below!



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