Christmas spirit

As the economy sinks further into the gloom and we buckle up for a period of austerity, we may need to re-think how we approach the festive season. So I thought I would start the ball rolling.

Turkey and stuffing
Fed up with all that junk mail and all those new guidelines that keep dropping through your
letterbox? Shred them and marinate overnight in 50% chlorhexidine solution, drizzled lightly with sodium monofluorophosphate and a dash of bisphosphonate. Compact and drain off excess moisture. Then think of someone who deserves to have it stuffed firmly up their derriere. Feeling better already? It works, doesn’t it? And so much better than sage and onion, I always think.

Tree and fairy
If you were spoiled for choice in the previous section, or if you ran out of stuffing before the job was done – it happens sometimes – an alternative is to think of any smug smart**** that has darkened your door this year. These people like looking down on the rest of us, so why not give them 12 days and nights in pole position? Or rather, the honoured position at the top of the Christmas tree. Imagine the look on their face as you ease the pointed end into position. Don’t you just love Christmas?

Christmas pudding
Two choices here. One is to pile a load on your plate, give it a good soaking in brandy, turn down the lights, set fire to it and then eat it. The ‘lite’ alternative is to turn down the lights and drink the brandy instead. After a couple of glasses you will have forgotten all about the Christmas pudding, so why waste your money on it in the first place?


Nuts is what patients think we all are after the spectacular but long-overdue u-turn on antibiotic prophylaxis this year. The conversation goes like this: ‘Do you remember that I have always told you that if you don’t take these antibiotics you would die? Well I was only kidding. In fact, you are more likely to die if you do take them.’ My advice would be to take two steps backwards at this stage, and don’t expect too much in the way of ‘Ho, Ho, Ho’.

Here is one for your diary – 1 April 2009. And not just because the transitional period for assured NHS contract values for individual providers comes to an end, opening the door for a rationalisation of the extremes in UDA values, but less obviously because the Care Quality Commission swings into action. The long-term consequences of both will be equally
significant but everyone is focused on just one of these two significant events.

Carol singers
God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay

When making full-full dentures you should use a special tray.
I did with fee-per-item, but I use them less today
Soft linings of comfort and joy Comfort and joy
Soft linings of comfort and joy.

Twinkle twinkle
No need for Christmas lights in the modern dental surgery. Dim the surgery lights and feast your eyes on the twinkling multi-coloured pilot lights and LEDs on your amalgamator, curing light, washer disinfector, autoclave, ultrasonic, etc. Get your nurse to wave your fibre-optic handpiece and we will soon have you in the Christmas spirit.

The three wise men from the east turned out to be Polish, Greek and Lithuanian dentists who have booked their tickets home. Wasn’t quite what it was cracked up to be, was it lads (and ladies)?

Found myself a brilliant box of dental crackers at the car boot sale in the BDA car park. The blue surgical paper hats were rubbish, but the little sheets of paper inside were magic.
What do you get if you cross the UK border and spend a night in an NHS hospital?
When the Department guarantees choice for every NHS hospital patient, what do they mean?
There is a vegetarian option at lunchtime, a decaff option at teatime, and as a loyalty bonus, the option of MRSA or C.Diff if you stay in for more than three days. For a stay of seven or more days you can choose both. Come back Hattie Jacques – all is forgiven.
What is the difference between a UDA and a b******?
There isn’t one – both are widely thought to be ill-conceived.
What’s’ the difference between a vital pulpotomy on a lower D, and 12 molar root canals? 
One takes a single visit and the other takes a lifetime. But both are worth three UDAs.
Why did the dentist cross the road?
Because the other side of the road was in a different PCT area and it was easier to relocate the practice completely than to continue dealing with a PCT that didn’t understand dentistry and wasn’t prepared to listen.
How can you tell the difference between someone with a basic dental degree, and someone with 17 postgraduate qualifications?
You can’t, at least not if you are looking in the Dentists Register.
Has anyone seen the Minister for Health with responsibility for dental services?
Yes, it is rumoured that Barry has. Unless of course Barry is the Minister for Health with responsibility for dental services? Now there’s a thought.
What do you give a NHS dentist who does more than one unit of crown and bridgework in a single course of treatment?
Bigger laboratory bills.

Corridors of power
Can it be true that in the light of the deepening recession, conversion courses are being offered to enable dentists from smile studios, cosmetic dental spas and dento-facial aesthetic centres up and down the country to branch out into new and hitherto unexplored areas of dentistry? Like prevention, and treating caries and periodontal disease, for example. It can surely only be a matter of time before fillings are made a core CPD topic.

The GDC has expressed its concern, of course, that patients might be misled into believing that fillings are ‘real’ dentistry. Heaven forbid. Naturally, practice websites and promotional literature must make a clear separation between buccal pits and buccal corridors. NICE has carried out a detailed review of the evidence. It was a double blind study in that patients had no idea they had buccal pits, and dentists had no idea that they had buccal corridors – until they went on a half-day course at an airport. NICE doesn’t want anyone treating either of them on the NHS. This is because there is compelling evidence that it costs money.

Make the most of your Christmas break, forget about the global economy for a few days and, above all, have fun. Apparently, this is not yet considered professional misconduct.

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