Editorial

Sophia Antoniou, Student editor, BDJ Student

A welcome to readers

In a world of instant gratification, we are easily frustrated when things we desire do not come easily. Be this the slow wifi on the train, or patients refusing to follow any of the oral hygiene instructions that you have already given them six times before. These seemingly small annoyances mount up over time establishing a considerable burden that weighs over us, proliferating each day like a psychological neoplasm.

The angst that may result from this can of course have several unfavourable outcomes on our mental health which our contemporary society is increasingly aware of. The strain that we put ourselves under, will in most cases manifest itself in our muscles. Common areas of tension are the neck, shoulders, lower back and hands, all of which are used frequently in the dental profession. This puts an onus on us to keep all of these areas (along with many others) in good health. If afflictions are not resolved, we may find ourselves requiring surgery and/or other immoderate measures in the future.1

Despite all of the negative consequences on our own body and mind, a state of unrest can have grave repercussions for our patients. Never events, as the name suggests are forbidden instances, equivalent to blasphemy in the dental industry; whenever someone speaks about never events a judgemental hush descends upon all other parties in the room. Nonetheless, these largely preventable events do occur.

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Taking out the wrong tooth can have devastating impacts on our patients but also our own confidence in our professional capabilities. Picture this: you have just met an emergency patient complaining of unfathomable pain in their lower right posterior region. The lower right seven is grade II mobile with apical pathology, and the lower right six has been noted for extraction. The patient is urging you to take it out quickly and relieve them of the annoyance and pain. After they are anaesthetised, you quickly complete the countdown with your nurse and clamp the forceps into the furcation and begin to gently manoeuvre the tooth from its socket, enjoying how easily it is coming apart from the alveolar bone in your experienced hands. Just as it is easing out of the mouth, you notice the radiograph opposite the patient with the lower right six clearly visible. Looking back into the mouth, your heart drops to the deepest pit in your stomach when the dismal realisation dawns on you that you have just extracted the lower right seven next to it.

To some, this may not seem like a huge dilemma as perhaps it was a ticking time bomb until the second molar was also to be extracted due to the poor prognosis, but this may be the tooth needed as a denture abutment or for another reason. Not to mention the dento-legal entanglements that will ensue a situation involving a never event.

We need to take care of ourselves well, in order to provide the best treatment for our patients.

Sophia Antoniou

References

  1. 1.

    Mariotti A. The effects of chronic stress on health: new insights into the molecular mechanisms of brain-body communication. Future Sci OA 2015; 1: FSO23.

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Correspondence to Sophia Antoniou.

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Antoniou, S. Editorial. BDJ Student 27, 5 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41406-020-0132-z

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