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Blog 11 : Clinical Dental Technicians

Dentistry has changed beyond belief in the past 10 - 15 years.

A good friend of mine - a Specialist Orthodontist - who qualified over 25 years ago - said that he guesses he uses around 5% of his dental student training in his practice today.

You might think that advances in technology make this statement obvious - but how much has the mouth changed in all that time ?

Of course the mouth and dental anatomy hasn't changed - but the way that we deliver dental care and the expectations people have of that care have completely changed in the past decade...

Gone are the days when dentists have to be a 'jack of all trades'.

Our predecessors did everything for their patients ...from fillings to braces to diagnosing oral pathology to making dentures.

While Dentists working under that system did their very very best for their patients ...we must recognise that it is impossible to be excellent at everything. As is the case with everything in life ...some people are better at some things than others .... and some dentists are better at some things than others.

In modern dentistry, dentists have typically narrowed their sphere of practice. Some focus on restoring teeth, some on root canal work and some on straightening teeth.

However, on that theme... very few dentists today focus on making dentures.

Dentists today often joke that dentures are a 'black art' and making excellent dentures is something that is 'shrouded in mystery'. This is because denture making skills are not as widely taught as they once were and the skills are being lost.

This is where we come back to delivery of care.

Dentures were traditionally made by a dentist and an off-site dental technician. The dentist would see the patient to take impressions of the mouth and record bite measurements.

But the fact is, the off-site Dental Technician would do most of the work in setting up and designing the teeth as well as making the dentures. The drawback of this approach is that the off-site Dental Technician could be located anywhere in the world and would do their work without ever seeing the patient..which just seems completely wrong !

This is where Clinical Dental Technicians (CDT's) come in...

CDT's are highly skilled dental technicians who have completed years of additional training at University which allows them to see patients for themselves.

This means that CDT's can examine patients, see their patients to take impressions and to take bite measurements AND ... CDT's can then design and make the teeth for their patients.

This gives the CDT complete control over every stage of denture production.

This level of control reduces error, improves communication and helps provide really excellent dentures.

There are around a dozen CDTs in Scotland and we are really lucky at Loanhead in that we have a CDT as part of our team !

Her name is Gosia (that's her picture below) and she is quite brilliant at making dentures.

If you need to have dentures or you need to have them replaced - then Gosia is the very best person for the job... because she is an expert and this is all she does.

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