â€œMy teeth are so terrible, thereâ€™s nothing that can be done.â€ This is a typical statement from an adult patient who thinks, erroneously, that their teeth are beyond help. I firmly believe that orthodontics can improve just about every malocclusion but converting those who have decided that dentistry has no more to offer them isnâ€™t easy.
Through its programme Embarrassing Bodies, Channel Four has helped bring a small number of patients who fall into the â€˜dentally despairingâ€™ category into my surgery. They are referred to me by James Russell, known to viewers as Dr James, http://www.channel4embarrassingillnesses.com/episodes/doctors/dr-james-russell
when orthodontics is needed before he can carry out the restorative improvements.
Colleagues are often intrigued to know what itâ€™s like to have a cameraman sitting in an appointment. My answer is that itâ€™s interesting. For instance, the cameraman is a really nice, considerate person, constantly apologising for being in the way. The appointment becomes challenging when he says to me: â€œWhat you did then was great â€“ can you do it again so I can see your face?â€
Naturally I oblige although it can be tricky to remember exactly what I have said because my appointments are not scripted! And I had to draw the line after a lengthy bond-up when he asked if I could repeat the process so he could film from a different angle!
Itâ€™s worth participating in Embarrassing Bodies to gain a perspective on just how painstaking it is to make just a few second of television. But it does make every appointment more lengthy. And sometimes patients are not as compliant as you would wish.
But I hope that viewers who are also dentally desperate are given hope and confidence that they too could find the treatment that they need. How interesting it is that the media and makeover programmes have brought a wider cross-section of the public to the doors of specialists and dentists. By making dreams come true they can demonstrate the kind of artistry thatâ€™s possible in a dental surgery.