Last year I celebrated a 40 years from graduation reunion with my dental classmates from Otago University. It was a wonderful occasion getting to reconnect with my classmates and helped me reaffirm the reason I took up the profession of Dentistry.

A great number of these colleagues are still active within the profession and it was incredible to observe how many of us are still stimulated and enthusiastic about Dentistry.

Since the reunion I have had time to reflect on what drives myself to retain the passion I have for Dentistry. The answer is simple – our patients, the amazing associate Dentists and Hygienists that work in my Practice, and the challenges that are presented to us in our workday.

There is no doubt that the dental profession has a huge amount of work to do as dental disease is the most prevalent irreversible disease in New Zealand with approximately 50% of our adult population not receiving regular dental care.

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There are a variety of reasons why dental disease is so prevalent including;

• Poor nutrition – frequent consumption of sugars that can increase the risk of tooth decay
• Poor oral hygiene – if we don't brush and floss our teeth regularly and correctly dental plaque accumulates. Plaque on teeth converts sugars into acids that dissolve the enamel and dentine structures of teeth resulting in tooth decay and causes gum disease
• Lack of awareness about the importance of good dental health
• Not seeking dental care because of fear and anxiety
• The affordability of dental treatment

At Dental on Raffles we aim to address each of these factors to improve dental health in Hawke's Bay. Our large hygiene department leads the way in our prevention and education programs and the management of gum disease whilst our Dentists are involved with restoring damaged teeth, replacing missing teeth and managing all other dental problems.

Our Hygienists give diet counselling, monitoring and advice to patients who have more cavities in their teeth than they should, show brushing techniques and cure gum disease.

Dental fear whether it has been created by a bad dental experience, domestic violence or anxiety as part of a persons makeup our clinicians at Dental on Raffles are totally empathetic and will listen and develop treatment plans that most can manage. We have developed very gentle techniques and for those that need extra help we can provide both oral and intravenous sedation.

Ways to help manage affordability;

• For large treatment plans to make longer appointments to do more per visit (efficiency allows for discount)
• Temporary treatments that are less expensive but will stop that disease process
• Begin education and preventative program with Hygienists
• Prioritize treatment i.e. do the most important treatment first
• Keep regular care

It has statistically proven that the best and least expensive dental care is by the patient who keeps regular care.

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For more information don't hesitate to consent us.

Gary Winter BDS
Principal Dentist
Dental on Raffles