THIS WEEK [ITV/Rediffusion, 1956-68]: The NATION'S TEETH
DOCUMENTARY. Dental care in Britain. No main title. Receptionist's area in a dentist's surgery. A mother brings her children to the desk to confirm the appointment. Voice over states that the report will look at a typical day in the life of a dentist in a central London clinic. The clinic [not named] employs 6 NHS dentists, 3 receptionists plus nurses and deals with an average of 150 patients a day. One dentist can deal with up to 30 patients a day, 4 an hour. The VO is set against shots cutting between the receptionist's desk, queues of people in the waiting room and patients being treated by the dentist in his surgery (171). A dentist is interviewed in his surgery. He has two surgeries working 8 hours a day and sees between 30-40 patients a day. He feels this pressure doesn't reduce standards of care but there is insufficient time to talk to patients in NHS practice. He has to see a prescribed number of patients per day to earn enough money, as in a piece rate (283). Another dentist is interviewed in his surgery. He feels the NHS was too successful and the Government is now unwilling to pay the price to maintain and develop the standards of care people have been come to expect. A full dental service is now not being offered which dentists find demotivating. They train for 5 years and then find themselves repeating simple tasks and practising only a small range of their professional skills. He too believes that only in private practice is there time to build up a relationship with patients and provide a back-up service. He thinks Britain is falling behind other countries in dental care (531). Large room with rows of dentist's chairs and dentists attending patients. VO states that in Britain 16 training colleges last year produced 601 qualified dentists but 800 dentist retired or left the country. There are more places but fewer applicants. There is a swing to preventative medicine funded by private industry and government. The £150,000 spent by Brtiain on research programmes is far less than the in the US which spends 30 times the sum (589). Children queuing in the school corridor to see the school dentist. Dentist examining a child's teeth. VO states the children's service is being `crippled' by adult demand for treatment. School dentists earn less. In Burton on Trent there is one school dentist to 100,000 children; in Smethwick a better ratio of 1 -2600 children. 2 out of 3 children have tooth decay and 7½ million fillings are done every year (661). A young woman examining a child's teeth. VO states that dental auxiliaries, `girls', are being employed to undertake the less specialised work of the dentist. The scheme is copied from New Zealand and resented by dentists (705). Interview outside a school mobile dental surgery caravan, with James Toller (?), School Dental Officer for Cambridge. He feels more should be spent on school dentists and dental education. He thinks that the antagonism to dental auxiliaries is based on fear and is unfounded (903). A reservoir. Man in warehouse moving sacks of sodium fluorosilicate. A conveyor belt moving the sacks to a man who stacks them in piles. A belt tipping fluorosilicate into water. Alarm mechanism which sounds when fluoride levels become too high. VO states that adding fluoride to water reduces dental decay by 60%. Birmingham is one of the first cities to add it to it drinking water at a cost to the people of 3d a head (990). Ronald Goosetree (?), a washing machine salesman from Birmingham, travels 15 miles each weekend to get water from a friend's house where flouride isn't added. Mr Goosetree at a sink filling bottles from the tap; his mother packing bottles. Mr Goosetree unloading boxes of water bottles from a van outside his house. He speaks about his fears to the interviewer. He thinks that fluoride is a waste product of the aluminium industry and is used in rat poison and insecticides. He believes it contributes to mongol births, diabetes and kidney diseases. He opposes all scientific opinion and refuses to use tap water at home to wash in. Shots of two buckets hanging from the attic window to collect rainwater. He feels men have fought two world wars to enjoy the freedom to eat and drink whatever they like (1372). James Toller interviewed. He believes that fluoride in drinking water has long-term beneficial effects and regrets that the practice hasn't been adopted on a national scale (1482ft).