The last bite (October)

15 October 2021
2 min read

I was fascinated to read that in a recent survey, 63 per cent of people questioned claimed being friends with their dentist influences their dental treatment in a very positive way. Over half of the survey participants considered that patients are likely to forgive even treatment mistakes if they know the dentist personally and that such a friendship may lead to fewer negative reviews and better customer care.

It reminded me of one of the things that a very wise prosthodontics tutor at dental school told us a very long time ago. “Listen carefully to what your patient tells you when they return to see you with a mucosal ulcer from their recently fitted prosthesis”, he advised. “If they say – look what this has done to my mouth – they are far more likely to complain officially than if they say – I am so sorry but I seem to have rubbed an ulcer from your nice new denture.” In today’s currency, for friendship, read trust and for trust read positive social media exposure.

Awarding research
I have never previously heard of the Ig Nobel Prizes, run by an organisation called Improbable Research. Now in its 31st year – how had they escaped my attention for so long? – prizes in various categories were awarded at a recent ceremony in Japan.

To give a taste of the winners’ research, the Chemistry Prize went to a study which analysed the air inside cinemas to test whether the odours produced by an audience reliably indicate the levels of violence, sex, antisocial behaviour, drug use, and bad language in the movie being watched. Possibly closer to home, the Ecology Prize went to a piece of work identifying different species of bacteria residing in discarded chewing gum stuck on pavements in various countries.

However, the Medical Prize was awarded to a project from the Ear, Nose &Throat Journal which demonstrated that sexual orgasms can be as effective as decongestant medicines at improving nasal breathing. Given that many dental colleagues now treat snoring conditions I wonder if there might be something here that we need to investigate further?

And finally…
In a news item worthy of The Two Ronnies’ famous one-liner jokes, (remember: a lorry of bleach has overturned on a famous accident black spot, turning it into a famous accident white spot?) it has been reported that thieves who made a clean getaway with over £25k worth of mouthwash and chewing gum are being sought by police.

Apparently, the criminals took a haulage container filled with 48 pallets of the dental products in a raid on a locked compound in Stallingborough, Lincolnshire. CCTV footage shows men breaking through a gate before driving away with the stollen goods. What might Messrs Barker and Corbett have made of this I wonder? “Police have been left chewing over the evidence” or “when the three suspects were apprehended but then released they expressed a sigh of relief, which being obviously mint-flavoured got them rearrested.”