To help reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and the British Endodontic Society (BES) have produced a video to help patients better understand their options for treating the most common types of dental pain.
Most causes of dental pain can’t be treated with antibiotics, the partners said, and alternative treatment methods are much more effective.
“Although dentists make up a small proportion of prescribers in the UK, they contribute to around 10% of all antibiotic prescriptions,” said Nargis Sonde, clinical lecturer in restorative dentistry at the UCLan School of Dentistry.
“Most of our first-line prescriptions are broad-spectrum antibiotics, meaning they work on a wider range of bacterial. In some cases, this will be useful, but the side effects of using them is that more bacteria are likely to become resistant to their effects and eventually no longer work,” said Sonde.
“It is important for patients to know that their dentist might decide not to prescribe antibiotics for them and to remember that there will probably be a very good reason for this. We thought a short educational video may help patients to better understand what their options might be,” Sonde said.
The video was produced by the UCLan Innovation Lab, followed another successful collaboration with the School of Dentistry to produce an augmented reality game called BacteriAR. Nominated for a Guardian University Award, the game shares a very similar message around misusing antibiotics but is aimed at a younger audience.
“Currently, drug-resistant diseases account for 700,000 deaths a year worldwide, and the World Health Organization estimates this number to increase to 10 million a year by 2050,” said Dr. Shalini Kanagasingam of the UCLan School of Dentistry.
“The problem isn’t going away, so we need to act now to do what we can to try and stave off this impending crisis and empower patients to make better healthcare choices,” Kanagasingam said.
“The video’s style makes it patient- and family-friendly, and we are very keen for it to be shared with patients and within the dental and health communities, so the message reaches as many people as possible,” said Phil Tomson, honorary secretary of the BES.
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