The news this morning included a bizarre item that suggested dentists should be our front line of defence against the dangers of cancers caused by excessive drinking. We are more inclined to go to the dentist for routine check-ups than to a doctor and, therefore, the dentist might pick up signs that would otherwise not surface for some time. Apparently, as they peer into your mouth, dentists might notice decay caused by stomach acids, ulcers etc. Presumably, they might also smell your breath!? But a spokesperson declared that dentists might then be able to offer advice and he even went so far as to say they could offer ‘cognitive behavioural therapy or talking therapies’. Wow. I have this weird image of a doctor peering into your mouth and trying to practice as a psychologist at the same time.
I don’t know about you, but I have never associated dentists with empathy and with therapy. They tend, in my experience, to be highly judgemental about the lifestyles and habits of their patients. Having only taken my postcode, one dental surgery once asked me whether I was a drug addict! Such tact. Such delicacy. But then, their patients are rarely able to anser back when there are sharp implements stuck in their mouths.