ZCD held a session on the “Role of General Dental Practitioner in the management of oral cancer AND introduction to special care dentistry” for its students on 4th March, 2022. The lecture was delivered by Dr. Saifullah Khan, an academic scholar with an experience of working and studying in the UK and Ireland. The session shed light on how a general dentist can manage the patient with oral cancer. Pakistan ranks very high in the prevalence of oral cancer due to high consumption of chewable tobacco. As much as prevention is necessary, the management of the condition requires attention. The session started with the basics of diagnosing an oral cancer patient and later shed light on the interdisciplinary approach of management of the patient. Developing empathy towards a cancer patient was another highlight of the session and it was reiterated to never judge any of your patient, as we never know what is that person going through. The protocols of communication and personal demeaner of conducting one self with a cancer patient was also shared.
Dr. Saif also has MSc in Special care dentistry from UCL, London and holds the Diploma in Special care dentistry from the RCS – Edinburgh, shed light on the relatively new field in dentistry, the care for people with special needs. It is important to adapt our conduct and treatment protocols to suit the need of every patient, regardless of their disabilities. The onus of holistic practice lies on the dental care practitioner and encompasses the gist of patient-centered care. A disability can be in various forms and extents, ranging from the need of a wheelchair, to communicate in sign/visually assisted language, to societal biases towards a particular group of people. A common perception persists that special care dentistry caters to older cohort of the patients, however, it encompasses individuals whose medical, physical, psychological or social situations make it necessary to modify normal dental routines in order to provide dental treatment for that individual. It is hoped that this field of dentistry will soon be formally recognized in our part of the world.