Thursday 15 March 2012

Norwich Dentists Study Group discusses telescope attachments

A visit to an active group of East Anglian dentists who meet regularly to ensure their own continued professional development. Member Martin Sulo gave a presentation to Norwich Dentists Study Group, with case studies and a lively member discussion on the uses of telescopic crowns. German dental technician and German crown expert Ulrich Heker attended in support.

Telescopic attachments were originally invented in the late 1800s in the USA but have become known as German or double crowns, due to the expertise developed and routinely applied in the latter country. They are still relatively unknown and underutilised in the UK. One of the reasons being the need for a good partnership between dentist and dental technician.

Telescopic attachments provide dental replacement solutions where implants are contra-indicated. This can not only be due to the patients physical and health situation, the patients preferences and the current economic climate are equally important. Telescopic attachments fall midway between conventional prostheses and implants in cost whilst providing good aesthetics, and functionality. Telescopic attachments are prostheses that attach to a few existing teeth that are capped with a primary crown. The secure attachment is achieved via secondary crowns in the prosthesis.

Dentist Martin Sulo, Botesdale Dental Practice in Diss, had been collaborating with my business colleague, Ulrich Heker, owner manager of the dental technical laboratory Teeth'R'Us from Essen, Germany. Martin gave a seminar on his experience of using telescopic attachments as part of the continuing CPD of fellow members of the Norwich Dentists Study Group. Ulrich came over from Germany to be there and support Martin with any questions relating to the dental technician half of the work. Ulrich is very modest about his English skills, so I tagged along as facilitator if needed. The meeting was held in the impressive Georgian Assembly Rooms in Norwich.

The teamwork worked well. Martin Sulo was a calm and measured presenter, apparently unfazed by questions with which he was peppered during the talk; Ulrich Helker was able to jump in with technical detail. The Norwich Dentists Study Group came across as a relaxed yet highly informed affair. Martin had initially expressed concern that his well illustrated talk would only last half an hour at the most, he needn't have worried. The active questions and discussions of both dental and technical aspects of the case studies and the science behind the use of telescopic attachments, filled two hours that appeared to pass in a flash.

The new aspects that I really picked up from Martin's talk and the discussions were first, the importance of friction. Precise control of friction is required so that on the one had the prosthesis is retained firmly in the mouth whilst still being able to be removed by the patient. The second point was the balance between using precious alloys or non precious alloys. This was a matter that bounced around the discussion as the respective pros and cons in different situations were considered.

Two hours of technical discussion, no matter how interesting, generates a need for liquid refreshment. We gladly accepted the invitation to visit the group's post-meeting pub and spent the remainder of the evening in pleasant company before Ulrich and I took the late night drive back to Cambridge along now empty roads.

The relaxed teamwork between dentist Martin Sulo and dental technician Ulrich Heker was a winning combination and I thoroughly recommend them to other dental groups. If you are based within a couple of hours of Norwich, take a look at the Norwich Dentists Study Group program for the coming year.

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