Dental Reception and Supervisory Management
Dental Reception and Practice Management 2 nd Edition is designed for use by dental receptionists in practice and for use in dental reception courses. It will also greatly benefit dental nurses, dental hygienists, and dentists. About the Author Glenys Bridges, MCIPD, FBDPMA, RDN, dip. DPM, is an experienced management and administration trainer with more than 20 years working with General Dental Practitioners and their teams. She works with dental professionals delivering dental education and CPD in Leadership and Management, Communication and Professionalism, and has expertise and qualifications in Counselling and Life Coaching.
Dental Reception and Supervisory Management
The Developing World of Dental Care Services
History of the Nonclinical Dental Team
Teamwork is an essential part of modern dentistry and is critical to the provision of high-quality, patient-focused dental care. It is no longer an option for dental practitioners to manage the clinical and regulatory issues of their business without the support of a team. This has led to the introduction of more defined leadership and management roles and the need for a whole-team approach to develop and maintain dental services that are compliant with legal and ethical requirements. It has also led to legislation and regulations to govern the care and business aspects of dentistry.
Modern dental care has evolved from innovations and regulations that have their roots in the Medical Act of 1858. Before gaining recognition as a profession, dentistry was a branch of the medical profession, but under the terms of the Medical Act, Queen Victoria granted a charter to the Royal College of Surgeons to award licences in dentistry. Two years later, 43 candidates passed the first examination to receive the Licentiate of Dental Surgery.
In 1878, the first Dentists Act required a register of dentists to be kept by the General Medical Council. Previously, there had been no requirement for those carrying out acts of dentistry to hold recognized qualifications. Despite the Dentist Act, barber-surgeons and blacksmiths continued to extract teeth in public places with little regard for hygiene or patient care. This changed with the enactment of the Dentist Act 1921. To protect the public, the Act defined 'acts of dentistry' and limited acts of dentistry to individuals with a recognised qualification and who are registered with the government-appointed professional lead body.
The next significant milestone for the dental profession was the introduction of the National Health Service (NHS) in 1948. Most dentists worked alone, often from part of their own home converted into a dental surgery. The range of treatments delivered by general dental practitioners () was limited, with complex procedures being referred to a dental hospital. At this time, most dentists preferred to mix their materials. Since air turbines were yet to be invented, a simple saliva ejector was sufficient to keep the treatment area dry. The only assistance dentists required was in the form of someone to answer the doorbell, book appointments with patients (very few people had a telephone, so the phone was not a consideration), and complete the National Health Service (NHS) paperwork. In many cases, the dentist's wife or the daughter of a well-off family (who were hoping that their daughter would find a professional husband through her work) fulfilled these duties. In this way, the earliest receptionist role was created.
In the 1950s, a new generation of dental equipment was being developed, such as the high-speed drills that became standard equipment by the 1960s. Belt-driven drills were replaced by air-driven, water-cooled, high-speed drills. Because of the water coolants that accompanied this equipment, it was necessary for someone to work alongside the dentist to remove excess water for the patient's comfort and to keep the operating area dry. By the late 1950s, in some avant-garde, high-tech practices, the four-handed style of dentistry was growing in popularity.
By the late 1960s, dentistry was experiencing a period of rapid change. As a result, the role of support staff began to change. A new trend emerged for dentists to work in multi-practitioner practices. At the same time, more and more patients were contacting dental practices by telephone. This meant that one-person assisting was no longer adequate. There was a need for someone to work chairside while someone else answered the phone, managed the appointment book, and collected patients' payments. Under these conditions,