x Where There Is No Dentist 2012
Where There Is No Dentist has 2 parts. The first part (Chapters 1–5)
discusses teaching and learning about preventive care. It begins by
encouraging the health worker to examine herself and her family. To be a
good example is the best way to teach.
The second part (Chapters 6–11) talks about diagnosing and treating
common dental problems. It is especially for those who live where they
cannot reach or afford a dentist. A poor neighborhood in the city can be
as distant and neglected as a far-off village. This second part is intended
mainly for health workers who have helped organize people to meet their
Murray Dickson—a Canadian with primary care experience in Northern
Canada, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, and Mozambique—has written this
book in clear, simple language. He takes care to use popular names instead
of unfamiliar scientific words. For example, instead of speaking of ‘dental
plaque’ the author speaks of the ‘coating of germs on the teeth’. Such
simple language does not weaken the message. The message is stronger
because everyone understands.
The author has said:
I am sure some dentists will disagree with parts of this book.
Some points of disagreement may be small, like the failure to
use accepted dental terminology. Other ideas, particularly the
suggestion that non-dental people can be trained to provide
many kinds of treatments, may make some dentists angry.
The book is meant to be a source for argument and
discussion. This way, it may stimulate others to write the kind
of manual that is really needed in their countries.
The people must answer to the people’s needs. The health of teeth and
gums, along with general health, will improve only when people take the
lead in caring for themselves. The challenge for dentists and other health
professionals is to allow and encourage this to happen.