Phillip End explains what drove him to launch his book Dr Phil’s Adventures and how he hopes it will help children come back to the dental practice.
As a young enthusiastic dentist my mid-career retirement, AKA lockdown, was a period that came with pros and cons.
With what felt like real momentum gathering in all aspects of my dentistry, from my clinical skills to my communication and patient management, I felt as though my career was starting to take shape. The excitement of what equipment to order or what course to apply for next were slowly replacing worries over student debt.
Therefore, the reality of lockdown hit hard. Progression suddenly came to a halt.
However, when one door closes the other door opens. I took advantage of my free time to consolidate what I had learned and prepared to come back stronger.
Webinar upon webinar, writing notes and working out how I was going to apply – it was my new 9-5 job.
Thankfully in the first few weeks returning to work, the benefits of this are starting to show. Could it be that lockdown was a blessing in disguise? Only time will tell. I can learn all the theory I want, but if patients don’t return I can’t bring it to life.
What does the future hold?
The fate of NHS dentistry is undetermined. However, with appropriate and thorough protocol we can practise dentistry safely.
As long as our patients understand that wait times may be longer and their visit may be slightly different, we can still thrive in this new environment.
As someone who is passionate about oral health education, I feel as though now is a more important time than ever to reinforce oral hygiene to lower disease rates so practices don’t become overwhelmed.
My main concern is for young children who may need caries management. With compliance already difficult enough during these treatments, our new PPE may frighten young patients. This is why I committed half of my lockdown time to formulating a children’s book to help tackle this issue upstream. The book, Dr Phil’s Adventures, can help to prevent children fearing the visit to the dentist as a result of the new PPE by educating them on it. It also reinforces important oral health messages.
As a profession we must prioritise our younger patients. I believe this is the perfect way to do so.
The book will be available on Amazon Kindle, in paperback and e-copy formats in August. I hope to push it through my educational campaign @teach_teeth which can be found on Instagram and Facebook.
In dentistry, positivity is key. I believe lockdown has given me opportunities I wouldn’t have otherwise had. I hope I will look back on it in the future and think: ‘That made me a better dentist’. And hopefully colleagues and others alike will think the same.