Friday, 27 April 2018

Tubules Director's Day: What is Leadership?

Tubules unite! A few weeks ago we had our annual Tubules Directors' meeting...

Probably rehearsal number 3!


This year's Directors' Day was at HEYTHROP PARK in Oxford where this year's 2nd Inaugural Dentinal Tubules Congress will be held in October.

We had to chance to check out the venue where over 4th-5th October, this year's fantastic line up with hold the stage as well as run a day of hands on workshops... and there are 3 days left until the Early Bird Rate expires - click here to reserve your place! 

I was really impressed with this year's venue, especially since the venue from last year's congress was pretty amazing. Dhru welcomed us to the venue with his usual enthusiasm and talked to us about his leadership vision as well as sharing with us some of the feedback he received daily for all of his hard work with Tubules. 

And then it was time for some filming! We all had great fun with the Tubules Drone attempting to coordinate ourselves in an orderly fashion!


The Tubules Team. Photo credit Neel Jaiswal 

Throughout the day we heard from some fantastic speakers about leadership. 

Firstly, Daniel Priestly, author and entrepreneur spoke about Key Person of Influence (KPI) and how to become a leader/influencer in your field using some of his tools e.g. the 5 Ps. We then had a fantastic talk from the esteemed Colin Campbell. Many of the Tubules directors have had the pleasure of hearing Colin speak before and yet again he did not disappoint. Colin spoke about how every health professional should act in a way that delivers the greatest impact and demonstrate leadership to both patients and colleagues. 

Finally, some of our fellow directors shared tips of what makes a good study club. At Tubules our family listens to the feedback of their members to continually improve study clubs, workshops and events to be in line with the Tubules ethos: Share, Learn, Connect

And there's a sneak peak of the Drone footage from the day.....





Will you be attending this year's congress? Let me know in the comments below. 



Sunday, 22 April 2018

Domiciliary Dentistry: How Does it Work?

For the past 6 months, I have been providing domiciliary dentistry (doms) to housebound patients. But how does it work?



Who do I see?


I see patients who are referred into our Community Dental Services (CDS) covering the Boroughs of Hackney and Tower Hamlets. We are referred patients by GPs, community nurses, doctors, nurses, care homes and carers and occasionally other dentists. For patients to receive domiciliary care, this means they cannot get access to our fixed site clinics. This can be due to a number of reasons:

  1. They are housebound and cannot leave their house. This could be due to physical disability, complex medical conditions (e.g. being bedbound due to MS), dementia or mental health issues e.g. agoraphobia
  2. They live in a care home where is it not practical/there is no escort to bring them into clinic. 
  3. They are an in patient in hospital whether this be chronic or an acute admission
  4. They are institutionalised e.g. in a forensic mental health unit 

What treatments do I provide?


Luckily, our doms team are very well established and we can provide many treatments in a home setting - although I'd like to add that the quality of some of the treatment we provide may be compromised compared to what we can provide in a clinic where we have adequate lighting, access and equipment. Some treatments I provide include:
  • Dentures - this is what I spent 70% of my doms days providing
  • Screening/check-ups - this allows me to signpost to a clinic if needed
  • Prevention advice e.g. Oral Health Care Plans, Oral Health Education for carers
  • Hygiene visits 
  • Simple fillings using ART 
  • Extractions - when appropriate cases



What equipment do I take?


If any of you follow me on Instagram (@natb990), you will probably have seen all the equipment I take with me on doms. Since our service uses pool cars which the dentists drive, we have to take the whole shabang of equipment with us, in comparison to services which use public transport where they cannot take oxygen for example. For doms, equipment I take with me includes:

  • Paperwork (notes, forms, lab work, prescription pad etc.)
  • Equipment needed for treatment - we have separate tool boxes for pros, extractions and cons
  • Emergency drug kit
  • Oxygen cyclinder
  • Defibrillator
  • Portable scaler if providing hygiene visit
  • Clinical waste box
  • Dirty instruments box
For example, last week this is what I took with me (thank goodness for the trolley and my nurse to help!)

A light weight day as we only had 3 patients to see!



What problems do I encounter?


When I started going out on doms, there were many situations I encountered which were challenging and I didn't expect beforehand; for example:

  • Manual Handling - what do you do if a patient lives on the 4th floor with no lift and we have all that equipment to carry? I heard lots of stories of other dentists damaging their backs from going out of doms and I realised it was important not only to look after the patients, but to look after myself and my nurse!
  • Positioning - you can really get into some funny positions when treating patients on doms. They may be bed-bound, have stooped postures or be in wheelchairs. I have learnt not to be afraid to ask to re-position a patient e.g. asking them to sit in a high backed chair or moving their hospital bed into a better position. Otherwise my posture will suffer!
  • Environment - having to do a risk assessment of an environment in your head as you enter a person's house is paramount for you and your nurse's safety. Often this can be helped by the team who book patients in for you e.g. asking if they can not smoke for hour before your arrival, to lock any pets away in separate rooms. It is very interesting to see how some people live and indeed it can also be shocking!
  • Infection control - trying to set up your zoning in an environment where often there is clutter everywhere can be a challenge! Especially the patients I see in London who are often living in rather cramped conditions!
  • Consent and capacity - most doms patients are elderly and specifically those I see in care homes, consent and capacity can be an issue. This may fluctuate depending on when you see them or with help from their carers or family but there have been times where I have needed opinions from my colleagues. For example, a patient with advanced Alzheimer's disease where his dentures were lost. His family were pushing to have a new set made for him, but me and my colleague decided it was not in his best interest - his appetite was unaffected and it was highly unlikely he would comply enough to allow treatment!
  • Patient expectations - treatment in a doms setting is different to clinics. It will take me much more time to make a denture than in clinic as I cannot see as many patients on doms, and the treatment I provide again will not be as good as in clinic e.g. only being able to place an ART GIC restoration in a tooth rather than a composite or amalgam. Often managing patient's expectations can be difficult, especially when I suggest that they need to come into clinic. Unfortunately, we no longer have access to a portable x ray machine, so even when I do check ups on doms, I have to emphasise to patients that even if I cannot see any issues visually, there may be undiagnosed issues going on I cannot identify without radiographs; therefore, I always recommend coming into clinic for a full assessment in dentate patients. 



What Guidelines are there?


The BSDH has published guidelines on Domiciliary Care - click here.
Other guidelines you may find useful are the new FGDP guidelines on Dentistry and Dementia - click here.


Overall, I really enjoy Domiciliary Dentistry and the challenges it presents. It's also nice to get out of clinic and I can actually practice my driving skills since I only passed my test last summer! I've still got lots of learn but I'll post up my top tips for doms soon so keep an eye out!


Do you do doms? What challenges do you face? Please leave your comments in the section below.


Wednesday, 11 April 2018

PG Diploma in Special Care Dentistry RCSEd: My Experience

Back in March, I sat my PG Diploma in Special Care Dentistry (which I have mentioned in a previous post). For those of you who want to know a little bit more about the exam and how to apply keep reading!

You sit the exam at the Royal College in Edinburgh - An excuse to explore this beautiful city!

What is the PG Dip in SCD?


The PG diploma was developed recently with the Edinburgh Royal College to formally recognise the expertise of dentists who work with Special Care patients. Often the diploma can be taken during specialist training but it is not necessary to sit the exams. 

Who can apply?


There are some requirements to sit the exam:

  1. GDC registration
  2. A minimum of 2 years post-qualification
  3. A minimum of 1 year of experience of full time postgraduate experience working with special care patients (or part time equivalent if completed over 4 years)


Format of the Exam


There are 4 parts to the exam:

  1. Log book of clinical experience relevant to special care dentistry (50-100 cases over a 6 month period)
  2. Case presentations x 2 of special care patients (in differing categories of patients)
  3. A written SBA exam
  4. Unseen cases x 7 


Ready to go into the exam! Candidate 1!!


What was the exam like?


So after submitting my cases and portfolio (which was a lot of work - if you want to view my portfolio click here, I can't share my cases online due to consent issues) 3 months prior to the exam date, I made my way up to Edinburgh to sit the exam. 

The exam was held over 2 days (they sometimes have them over 3 days) so I stayed a few nights. There was only me and another lady sitting the exam!

Day 1


Firstly, was the written exam. It was good to get it out the way. On the RCSEd website you can find a full curriculum to go through when you are revising but the exam was 150 single best answer questions covering topics including:
  • Medical conditions and dental manifestations
  • Medication interactions, classifications and contraindications
  • Pathophysiology of diseases
  • Audits, research and clinical governance
  • Epidemiology
  • Embryology 
  • Mental Health 
  • Immunology
  • Theory of sedation and GA

After a couple of hours break and recharge, we then had the first of the oral exams where the 2 examiners asked questions about our logbook and our clinical cases. Although it was a bit intense, they were my patients which I knew well. Tips I would give include:

  • Know how to justify your treatment plan
  • Know your patients conditions and medications side effects
  • Be ready to discuss problems you experienced and how you overcame them
  • Know alternative treatment options and why you didn't chose them
  • Dental impact of conditions that your patient has
And that was day 1 done! Phew! 


Day 2



After a good nights sleep the final hurdle was the unseen cases. This was the part as a student I used to feel most anxious about, but surprisingly on the morning I didn't feel that anxious. I think the reason why was because you have the same people examining you as Day 1 and during the first oral exam I felt like I had almost built up a rapport. Plus it was the last bit of the exam left! Here are examples of sorts of patients came up in the unseen cases (there were 7 in total). 

  • Dementia patients
  • Parkinson's patients 
  • Physical disabilites
  • ADHD/challenging behaviour
  • GA/sedation options
  • Bleeding e.g. NOACs
  • Transplant patients
  • Oncology patients 
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Sleep apnoea

And with that, I was done... and I'm pleased to say I PASSED!! Woohoo, now I have more letters to add after my name - but more importantly, a formal recognition of the skills I have learnt during the past 2 years working with special care patients.

To read more about the exam, see the RCSEd website



Are you thinking of taking the diploma? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments below. 



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