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Contrasts of dental standards


53 years ago, I started my apprenticeship as a dental salesman. I went to work for almost a year at one of UK’s leading dental dealers, Cottrell & Co. in the heart of London.

Then, there were no composite filling materials, only silicates. No bonding materials, no disposable needles and hardly a seat in sight for the dentist. When you entered the stock room, a common sight was like the one below: boxes and boxes of acrylic teeth.

This was the sight that met me when I entered our dealer’s stock department last week – in Cluj, Romania. “And our stock levels are low at the moment”, I was told.
OK, they DO have composites and disposable needles, and the dentists DO sit down at their work. True, they don’t have dental hygienists, but that’s the same as France, Belgium, Greece and Turkey – and many other countries in the World. So I don’t want to be over-critical. Just observing…


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This became doubly apparent when I visited Amsterdam’s ACTA (dental university) facilities earlier this week. In fact, on Monday I gave a lecture to 3rd year dental hygienists in an auditorium, that would not look out of place at a modern art museum. Quite stunning.

I mean, just look at the image below: this is just one quick view from the lobby. Could be a Las Vegas hotel with that atrium.


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It illustrates the task ahead for those who are trying to bring dental care to the World. For instance, I suggest you check out the efforts of the ADI – Academy of International Dentistry, an organisation that voluntarily directs its funds and brains to exactly that subject. I am proud to help where I can, such as bringing them closer to the IFDH, the World Hygienists’ Association.

You and I may be getting good dental care. But so much of this World just has not caught up – and is in danger of being left far behind. Romania is an example of the problem: they joined the EU some years ago, but, as you see from the above image, have a long way to go.

Smile – Support Your Dentist



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