The Dental Clinic re-opened its doors on Monday 2 July at 11am after 12 days of renovations.
I spoke to Dentist Wayne Badier. "All the chairs are being replaced, we'll be getting in new hand pieces, they'll come on the ship, hopefully on the 3rd of August" said Badier. The compressors, the suctions units; everything's been upgraded. The previous surgical chairs were breaking down all the time, the air lines were leaking, the suction wasn't working properly. The new stuff that's been installed is far more effective, easier to keep clean and sterile. It's definitely a vast improvement on what we had." There are two surgery rooms within the clinic and both were refitted. The work was carried out by the Infrastructure & Utilities department. No work was done on the dental laboratory.
The new chairs have ultrasonic units built in which are up-to-date in technology. The new drills provide more torque allowing faster and efficient use. Other new features include x-ray viewing boxes, under-floor piping and new flooring that allow effective infection control.
During the renovation works emergency patients were given prescriptions of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medication for pain. Badier said, "a number of patients did come in, it was very frustrating because you want to help them, and you want to do something constructive maybe take a tooth out or do a filling but we just didn't have the facilities."
Badier is also an orthodontist (the straightening of teeth using braces) "I do orthodontics but we don't have the kit to do orthodontics here. It's quite frustrating when you see work that can potentially be done. At this stage we don't have fixed appliances. That is something maybe for the future. But there is so much other work that needs to be done. A person's got to do the most important and work up. Then go to more secondary dentistry, the more specialised aspects of dentistry. Get the people with tooth ache and dental decay sorted out first."
I asked advice on dental hygiene, "brush teeth twice a day and have regular check ups. Cut down on the amount of sugars you eat and the frequency of eating sugars. It takes about 20 minutes for the saliva to neutralise the acids from eating regular sweets. If you are continually eating sweets and sugary things then you are going to end up with decay", said Badier.
Staff at the clinic includes a dental nurse, dental nurse assistant, technician and technician assistant. Charmaine Buckley is a UK registered dental nurse. I asked what the island's general dental health is. "The majority is good, although a lot are not dentally conscious," said Buckley. Buckley added "right now our major concern is the amount of people walking into our emergency clinic. Don't wait for pain to happen with tooth ache, come in and get a check up."