NEGLECTED PROBLEMS

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                Through rapid scientific advances in dentistry the profession has now established itself as a health service. Its duties are to prevent disease, to treat pathologic lesions and to restore lost function.

The method of treating pathological conditions and the restoration of lost function is familiar to every practitioner but a system for educating patients on the care and preventive measures has manifestly been either neglected or avoided.

We have received frequent communications from dentists suggesting the desirability of such a measure in the interest of dental health.

There is no question but that the value of dental service is greatly enhance din the estimation of the patient when definite instructions for mouth care are given.

Upon the completion of every restorative case the dentist should advise his patient on the necessary precautions against further destruction of his teeth. In the absence of such instruction, neglect or self treatment will surely follow.

Aside from the important consideration of promoting a valuable service, there is another vital reason for assuming this responsibility to patients. Oral hygiene is one of the chief factors to be considered in the routine of dental prevention yet it has become a matter of such routine that it is not given the proper detailed attention it should receive.

Most patients are accustomed to the common practice of mouth cleanliness but they do not have the necessary understanding of sanitary science to apply it in a beneficial manner, therefore they need intelligent guidance in remedial measures and direction in proper dietary means of correcting individual deficiencies. The numerous health campaigns in connection with dental problems have aroused a public interest in all subjects pertaining to health and dentistry. Its apathy has been replaced by inquiry on all questions concerning them. Through the extensive advertising of various medical products in our current literature and on the radio, people have become well informed on preparations connected with dental health but lack the discretionary powers of choice.

It is incumbent upon every dentist to prepare himself with the knowledge necessary to satisfy all inquiries. Physicians have long been confronted with the same situation and have met it as the demands required.

It is just as necessary for dentists to definitely advise patients on health products as it is for physicians. Patients expect dentists to be as well informed on health products used in dentistry as physicians are on products used in the medical profession.

When dentists intimate that there is no preference, the patient immediately selects something that has appealed to him through an advertisement or sales effort. In this day of substitution and exaggeration he is more apt than  not, to select a product of harmful effect and which no dentist would approve.

If there is no available product on the market to suit your needs prescribe some efficient formula, but advise something definite for the sake of your own prestige as well as the safety and dental health of the patient.

No doubt there are many dentists who have found satisfactory means of dealing with these problems and have some effective methods of prescribing for their patients.

It would greatly aid those of the profession who are trying to form some plan of procedure if you would kindly submit a letter of information on your methods of dealing with these problems to Nutrition and Dental Health. We will publish them in this department for the benefit of all.

It will be especially appreciated by those who have not yet made any particular observance of this phase of dentistry. If you wish your name withheld we will publish only the name of the city for indentification.