Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Media Hates on Dentists- Again.

I actually think I am going to end up being a grumpy ranter type blogger. Too many things are getting on my tits at the moment.....

Once again the media are having a crack at dentists in NZ for being prohibitively expensive.
The extreme examples flooded the talkback shows, and dentists get hated on for driving nice cars (I don't, mines a 2004 Subaru station wagon) and sending their kids to private schools.

Kevin from Timaru phoned Danny Watsons show on Newstalk ZB on Monday afternoon to crow that he hadn't needed to go to the dentist since 1967 as he had no teeth left and was still wearing the same set of dentures. Good on you Kevin- dentistry as a science has moved on somewhat since 1967, but I'm glad you can still eat apples. I really hope there isn't any fungal infection or precancerous lesions underneath your 40 year old dentures.

Steve from Auckland (it must have been Auckland) has spent $78K on his teeth. He must be consenting to extensive specialist treatment, I have never even come close to charging one person even a quarter of that amount.

Then we get treated to stories about how great and cheap dentistry is in Thailand and you get a nice holiday to boot. Interestingly, there weren't many stories from callers who had been to Thailand and had dodgy dentistry done, only to have to have it put right once they came home.
Its interesting because I regularly see people who have had disastrous dentistry done overseas. Many have had inappropriate, rushed treatments (you really can't do a smile makeover in a week), no followup care or education on how to care for their new smiles.

Not one single person put their hand up and admitted that they themselves may have been partially to blame for the state of their own teeth. Reminder: dentists don't put disease (decay/ gum disease) into peoples mouths. That gets there through poor habits/diet/education/neglect......we're just the messengers.

I'm going to borrow a couple of quotes from my colleague Andrea who blogs about dental issues here

"Preventative dentistry isn't really that expensive.   A visit to the hygienist costs about the same as a cut and colour for most women at the hairdresser.   Reparative dentistry (who owns the cavity here) is inevitably more costly but think about that for a minute...a porcelain restoration costs anything from $1400 - $1850 depending on the type, locality and dentist delivering the care.  Most dentists put that restoration in with care and dedication, to a high clinical standard and feel comfortable telling their patients that they could expect it to last 10 years or longer in a well maintained mouth.
Your tooth is going to drive the equivalent of 400,000 km over that time as it chews, talks, helps you stay young and healthy because you can eat good food. What else can you buy for $1500 that will last you 10 years - not a TV, nor a computer, or a car.  Your car depreciates and needs maintenance, your computer and TV are out of date in 3 years."

To be a dentist in NZ requires expensive training and equipment- if people are paying, they quite rightly expect the dentist to be up to date with latest techniques and materials to be available to them.
This is Andreas take on it (she does practice in Auckland)...

"If you've got a sore tooth I can pull it out - the simple cheap option for about $300.  Expensive!  Well....  my $50,000 receptionist will take your phone call and fit you in quickly to my spare $80,000 surgery because you're in pain.  I'm assuming you found us on the Internet Yellow Pages after our $3000 ad placement.  I'll take my $400,000 education and diagnose your problem, talking with you in English and know about that new medication you're taking as a blood thinner because the Dental Council requires me to be up to date.   I'll use my $250 forceps. Not to mention my $900 Dental Council Registration fee just to reassure you I'm a properly licensed dentist,  my $400 xray license and my $50,000 xray machine to check that I'm not going to leave you permanently numb after tearing your nerve because your tooth root is wrapped around it.  And it would be good to have a $50,000 dental assistant to help out so you don't have to suction your own blood because I've only got 2 hands.  Remember she's trained to sterilise those forceps in a $10,000 autoclave so you don't contract hepatitis from inadequately sterilised instruments.  How much would you like to pay?
Oh, but you want me to save it with my high tech root canal equipment, my nickel titanium files in my $3000 handpiece (this is not a $200 Dremmel from Bunnings afterall), my modern resin sealers and then use my $200,000 camera and CAD milling equipment to make you a nice white crown that looks like a real tooth.  Sure.  Expect to pay a little more."

At the end of the day, people have a choice about where they want to spend their money. Living in NZ is expensive- overheads here are high, the cost of living is high. Lawyers and accountants are expensive, but they rarely get the amount of vitriol and hate directed them as dentists do. Private medicine is expensive- I don't know any dentists who drive a Maserati, but there were a couple of them in the staff carpark of the Ascot clinic when I was there a few weeks ago.
Beauty therapy, high end fashion and hairdressing is expensive relative to the amount of training and knowledge required to work in those industries, but people are happy to pay through the nose for the perfect haircut and colour or divine pair of shoes- myself included.
I value my hairdresser, he does a great job, and I'm happy to pay for it. The few times I've been to a bargain basement hairdresser I've needed a paper bag to cover the disaster- and ended up paying twice to get it fixed.
Yet people expect dentists to be cheap AND do a great job....

I personally as a dentist will always try to make my treatment plans as affordable and flexible as possible, without compromising the treatment or cutting corners. I invest large amounts of time talking to people about how they can improve their oral health at home. I take pride in my work, and will happy repair/replace/fix/change things on the rare occasions my patients aren't happy with them.

I am sick and tired of being a verbal whipping bag for people who haven't prioritised their own oral health, and now expect me to deliver it to them on a plastic plate...for nothing..

Rant over.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Cereal Review- Be Natural Manuka Honey and Spice Clusters

I like free stuff, and I like cereal, so it was nice to get some free cereal last week.

I have been enjoying the Be Natural range lately, I have been sucked into their "healthy, eco friendly" brown paper packaging, but their food is quite nice too.

I tried the Manuka Honey and Spice Clusters with flakes.

The 5 whole grains in the cereal are wheat, oats, rye, barley and triticale so its not a gluten free friendly cereal. It gets the heart foundation tick for fat content (4.9g per 100g) but the sugar content just tips the recommended "healthy" 15g/100g or less. Sugar content is 16g per 100g- this may have something to do with the manuka honey content but its still sugar.
Here they are straight out of the box with a little bit of milk->

And here they are with the box and some of my hone stewed plums and yoghurt. Yum!
The spice clusters have a nice but not overpowering cinnamon flavour.

They were nice, and I would buy them again but at $6.49 for 500g they are more of a treat cereal.

I have also tried the Pink Lady Apple and Flame Raisin flavor and they were nice too.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Happy New Year

Happy New Year- its nearly February so I am definitely quite late out of the blocks for this one, but the Christmas period and subsequent return to work was very busy for our little family. We had some very dear friends from London stay with us just before Christmas and spending time with them was just wonderful.
Got in a wee bit of sewing done and made my daughter and our friends daughter one of these quilts each.

I used Cat Taylors tutorial and fabrics from Stitchbird Fabrics and Lyndy from there was really helpful helping me match up the colours- I loved the babushka doll fabric and she helped me pick out the contrasting panels.

The back is a natural cotton with a small cherry print from Spotlight. The quilts have been great-I used really thin needled cotton batting and they are perfect for this time of year when you want a blanket that isn't too hot.
Very proud of my first quilting experience! And I don't have a walking foot either (to cheap to buy one) but I can see the benefits of having one.

Have also made a few bits of clothing for Ruby and attempted to make myself a top which was a time consuming swear fest that involved lots of unpicking and general grumpiness. I will wear it, but its definitely nowhere near as satisfying as making little clothes for kids, husband wanted to know why I couldn't just scale her patterns up, I reminded him that I have... curves that she doesn't have.

Anyway. In other news, our "little" home business has exploded, and we had lots of book orders to process before Christmas, which translated into 14 tonnes of books to distribute this week.
This is what 14 tonnes of books looks like (I had no idea and I don't think my husband did either) the picture doesn't show the scale very well, but I can assure you its ALOT.
All the orders are now on their way to various secondary schools around the country, and I have a very very tired and sore husband who now understands why I thought it might be a good idea to hire some students for the manual labour phase........
Its all very exciting and we're learning alot about the publishing phase is invoicing and hopefully payment!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Things I'm Loving This Week

Well PaisleyJade, its going to be a decadent one this week, thanks to having had a weekend of bubbles and glamour while away on a hens weekend in Auckland. Its back to reality with a thump today- busy times at work, potty training and trying to organise Christmas is now back on the agenda, and the sleep deprivation of the weekend has caught up with me. No photos this week, they're not fit for public consumption and I would be murdered by a certain bride-to-be.

Just to prolong the fantasy and glamour a wee bit longer, things I loved over the weekend were:

1. The changes made to Britomart- the area down there is just fabulous. There are some gorgeous shops, including the divine Jo Malone and the Kathryn Wilson pop up shoebox, where the staff are great. There are some fantastic bars and restaurants, including 1885 where we danced the night away and L'Assiete who do the best eggs benedict to soothe your hangover. Even the carpark is gorgeous with great murals by one of my favourite NZ artists, Flox.

2. Macarons and hot chocolate pastry- heavenly! We ate our way around the delicious French market, La Cigale  and the first bite of the pasttry was........words fail me.

3. Dressing up and wearing makeup, heels and a dress. Not practical for walking, but I enjoyed the elevated status the heels gave me on the dance floor, even if they caused my feet to go numb.

4. Spending good time with a fantastic bunch of ladies and laughing our way through the weekend- it was just great. Its always great to meet a brides friends before the wedding, and with this particular wedding being only a week and a bit away, its going to be a repeat party weekend very soon so we're all very excited!

5. Husbands who hold the fort while you're away and gallantly deal with major poo incidents without panicking or phoning. You're a keeper JR!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Dental Stuff- Amber Teething Beads

I was asked about these again yesterday.
Seeing as crystals and their healing powers don't feature highly in my practice, I did a little bit of research to settle my opinion once and for all, and I've concluded that like many other branches of alternative medicine, its a bit of a scam that preys on parental anxiety, and that someone is making a decent wad of cash from it, so of course they want to continue to sell them.

Dentists are pretty much universally known to be blood sucking money hungry leeches, so I would imagine if there was a shred of decent evidence to support the use of amber teething beads, some of us would be jumping on the bandwagon- especially if there was money to be made from it.

I know there is lots of anecdotal evidence out there that they are a godsend, but the scientist in me remains  unconvinced that they are anything but an expensive fashion accessory and a potentially dangerous one at that.
There isn't a single piece of scientific evidence to support the claims that the teething beads do anything near what they claim to, and I also struggle to see how they actually can work releasing any kind of acid at all given they are made from one of the hardest substances on the planet.
Apparently amber has to be heated to 200degC for it to release anything, and if it did release anything, how would you know exactly how much of the substance would be released? How do you know your child isn't allergic to this substance? What else can it do?

I found this blog which is a very good summary, and its well referenced which is essential for a health professional like myself to make any kind of judgement.

I didn't realise that some necklaces cost up to $90 (!!!!!!! yet some of the same parents baulk at spending $45 on a dental checkup?)

Have I used them on my daughter?
Our daughter has been pretty good with the whole teething process.
The two year old molars have yet to make an appearance, but we've got through the rest of the teeth without any magic beads or too much trauma.
I was more worried about the potential choking and strangulation hazards a string of beads on an infant poses, and would happily trade off a sleepless night or two for piece of mind in this regard.

Constant release of any substance into the bloodstream also concerns me (although I highly doubt the beads are capable of this).

 Paracetamol in low doses has been clinically proven time and time again to be an effective pain reliever, it can be controlled and measured and given at timed intervals, and very little adverse reactions have been recorded when the medicine is used according to its clinical guidelines.

My advice- save your money- there are lots of awesome kids toys that can be bought for $90. Or use it to buy a decent electric toothbrush.
The memory of teething pain fades pretty quickly, but the memory of toothache or a bad experience at the dental nurse can traumatise children for life- to the detriment of the rest of their dental health.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Things I'm Loving This Week.

Ok, I don't even know if I have done this properly, but here goes! (Edit- turns out I didn't I am the only person on PaisleyJades "Things I'm Loving" page who has posted themselves twice, and misspelt their own name to boot.)

This week I am loving this dress/ top I made for Ruby.  I followed the indietutes peasant blouse tutorial and just love the result- it looks great over leggings or shorts and is easy to whip on and off a busy toddler. Have had heaps of comments about it so am pleased.

I am also loving KMarts $4 t-shirts.

I put a couple of applique butterflies on one the other day- and I'm sure it easily added at least $10 to the value! Hows that for an "investment piece"?! Speaking of investment pieces, I tried this on today:

Its the crystalline drape dress from Cybele.  I love love love it.. We have a few weddings to go to this summer and it will be perfec event if I do manage to get knocked up with no 2, but at $499, its VERY VERY expensive and I don't think any amount of pleading will let me buy it considering I was recently  allowed a new sewing machine and have a large pile of spotlight receipts hidden in my car....

I am also loving longer summer nights, and the christmas feel around town. We are going to get our first christmas tree this year and I can't wait to receive all the ornaments from the Sew Funky Christmas Ornament Swap.  I have started on mine, and the lovely ladies in my group have been asking what colours everyone likes- I have blazed on ahead and chosen all mine without getting a single "like' so I hope they do like them!

Finally I love two year olds and the way they make me laugh...even when I am getting a little weary of the constant stream of chatter and commentary about everything. I love the way they optimistically ask for cupcakes for breakfast as if its the most normal thing in the world..

Stuff I've been making.

I've been pretty busy lately- as well as Miss Rs birthday we've had lots of other birthdays so have been making personal little birthday presents, and have stockpiled a few, such as these zip purses from the Cat Taylor and Mousehouse blogs.

I used gorgeous laminated and nylon Echino fabric from Stitchbird Fabrics for the top one. The second one is lined with fabric from Sew Pretty and is made from waterproof oilcloth from the very generous Linda at La cuisine.

I really like making these- the colour combinations and sizes are endless and they make great gifts which is good because I am only going to need a couple.

I have also made some bunting, some for Miss R and some for a friend- I downloaded a template here and I love that something so quick and easy looks so professional! Even my husband liked it although he did say it looks like a row of G strings. Not sure where he sees those these days- my G string days are well and truly over. 

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