Special Care Dentistry Day.

Monday, July 07, 2014 | .

General Dental Practitioners, Dental Care Professionals and Trainees from across Yorkshire come together for a Major Event on Special Care Dentistry.


A packed and enthusiastic audience filled the Conference Centre of the National Mining Museum, Yorkshire, for a major event on Special Care Dentistry organised by Health Education England working across Yorkshire and the Humber and sponsored by CPI, DiacoLtd and J&S Davis.


Paul Cook, Postgraduate Dental Dean, gave a warm welcome to all those attending and highlighted what was in store.

“It’s hard to believe that a few years back Special Care Dentistry wasn’t recognised in its own right.  I’m delighted with the progress that’s being made and the excellent training on offer from our team of experts working in the region. We’re working hard to provide the very best oral care treatment for patients.”

Warm thanks was given to Esther McDerra, Major Events Tutor and Rachael Nichol, Regional Advisor in Community Dentistry responsible for CPD, for their thoughtful planning and organisation of the whole event.


Gillian Greenwood, Consultant in Special Care Dentistry with City Health Care Partnership, Community Interest Company ( CHCP CIC ), Training Programme Director Special Care Dentistry for Health Education England working across Yorkshire and the Humber, based in Hull and East Yorkshire, kicked off the day’s presentations with great passion, sharing her wealth of knowledge and expertise.  It was possible to hear a pin drop as she engaged the audience with case study after case study detailing the wide range of patient groups she has treated over the years.  From those patients with learning impairments and physical disabilities to those medically compromised or suffering from dental phobia, Gill gave great insight into the different aspects of her work always applying her great medical knowledge.  Her experiences were thought-provoking helping delegates to appreciate the need to treat every patient differently and with sensitivity.


Poignantly, as it was November 11th,  there was a 2 minutes’ silence at 11 o’clock.  Immediately after, sticking to the theme of war, Gill reminded delegates the importance of getting to know the backgrounds and lives of special care patients, including war veterans, prisoners of war and older patients who’ve lived through the second world war. This sort of knowledge leads to a better understandingof patients’ behaviour in the dental environment. Speaking personally of her professional experiences over the years, Gill captivated the audience; the decoder who worked at Bletchley park during the war; the male patient suffering from renal diseases who wanted simply ‘to smile and eat with comfort’. Gill showed compassion dealing with numerous patient complexities and was full of common sense advice on how to deal with the day-to-day challenges of working within Special Care Dentistry.

“It’s important to look after patients within the context of their lives. There are often difficult decisions to be made and every patient is unique. We’re very lucky here in Yorkshire with newly qualified specialists, dental professionals and consultants who are all working hard together to provide the very best patient care across the region”.


Providing the best care for head and neck cancer patients was the subject of the next speaker, Claire Hutton, operational Lead for Radiography at Castle Hill Hospital. Claire talked in great detail of the oncology patient care pathway for those patients with head and neck cancer. She discussed the new equipment and techniques used to deliver radiotherapy as well as talking through the different new approaches to radiotherapy treatment.


Those working in dentistry, like the rest of the medical profession, have to deal with the increase in certain illnesses due to people’s lifestyle changes over the years, as this major event went on to explore.


Navneet Lad, StR in Special Care Dentistry with CHCP CIC and Health Education England - Yorkshire and the Humber addressed the issue of treating patients who take anti-coagulant drugs. She shared her knowledge and experience, talking of the need to liaise with medical colleagues during treatment. She also explained in detail the different anti-platelet drugs available and the new generation of oral anticoagulant drugs available.


After lunch, the UK’s growing issue of obesity was brought into focus.  How does one treat a dental patient who is over the weight limit of the dental chair comfortably and safely? From the causes and impacts of obesity to the specialist facilities and equipment, the afternoon’s presentations talked openly and gave various perspectives including a first-hand account from a patient.


Dr Chris Pollock, Consultant Anaesthetist, Spire Hull and East Riding Hospital and CHCP CIC gave an invaluable insight into the impact obesity can have on caring for patients. He looked carefully at the issues of general anaesthesia, sedation (inhalational sedation & intravenous) and local analgesia and shared some very good advice. Jessica Rowley, CHCP CIC and Health Education England working across Yorkshire and the Humber Deanery, who is nearing completion of training in Special Care Dentistry, explored the causes of obesity and how the pathological effects of obesity can affect patients receiving dental care.


Delegates had a chance to talk to the businesses and companies who had sponsored the event.  There were hands-on demonstrations of equipment at their stands and plenty of chance to ask questions. Sponsors were happy to share their knowledge and expertise.  Among those present, Steve Campbell, director of Diaco Limited gave an industry perspective, "We have seen a large number of NHS Clinics and dental hospitals invest in Bariatric Dental Chairs in both their community and hospital clinics as staff are seeing a higher number of patients that exceed the safe working limits of current dental chairs."

(Bariatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity).


There was a positive buzz about the museum all day and the feedback extremely positive, summed up by Karen Ormerod who works for Locala Dental Care in Huddersfield and Calderdale.

“I’m a dental hygienist and I’ve worked in Special Care Dentistry for a long time and when I first started you made it up as you went along and there was no training at all, so something like this is great for all members of the dental team and Gill Greenwood is so inspiring”.

And this inspiration is infectious it seems. Jessica Rowley, StR gave her personal insight:

“Special Care Dentistry has only been a specialty since 2009 so this is the first running of the training programme. When I went for my post in Special Care Dentistry, only two of us were interviewed but now when we heart that a post is advertised they’re beating down the door, trying to get in.”


Esther McDerra, Major Events Tutor, who helped organise the event, was delighted with the response. 

“A lot of our young dentists here today are interested in a career in Special Care Dentistry and they want to meet Gillian Greenwood and her team because they consider them to be very dynamic.  Here in East Yorkshire there is an active interface with Special Care Dentistry and other specialities such as Paediatric Dentistry which enable patients of all ages to have continuity of oral health care.”
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