A general dental practitioner's role in treating patients with a cleft lip and/or palate


The publication of the Five Year Forward View promoted a drive within the NHS to improve access to care for all patients, across all specialties. This article describes what would be expected of a general dental practitioner (GDP) when treating patients with a cleft lip and/or palate in primary care and when it would be appropriate to refer and work alongside specialist services at the hospital. The inspiration for this article began after an audit investigating the complexity level of treatment need of patients with a cleft lip and/or palate referred into the Adult Restorative Clinic at Guy's Hospital. The results of the audit suggested that access to GDPs for this cohort of patients may be difficult and there may be a lack of confidence amongst GDPs with regards to what treatment they can or should provide. The article also discusses the potential of dentists with enhanced skills (DES) bridging the gap between primary and secondary care. The aim of the article is to increase the knowledge and understanding of GDPs with regards to treating patients with a cleft lip and/or palate and ultimately to improve the level of care these patients receive.

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Correspondence to Nicola Gallagher.

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Gallagher, N. A general dental practitioner's role in treating patients with a cleft lip and/or palate. Br Dent J 228, 19–21 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-019-1116-7

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