Article: Volume 44 Number 6 Page 495 - June 2017

  Dent Update 2017; 44: 495-501  Read article

General Dental practice:  Alcohol and the Dental Team: Relevance, Risk, Role and Responsibility

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Abstract: An enquiry about alcohol use, whenever a patient presents for dental treatment, is now firmly established within the taking of a social history. Dental professionals are well placed to provide relevant alcohol advice. Indeed, it is now embedded within the training of undergraduates as required by the General Dental Council (GDC) in Preparing for Practice.1 Practitioners therefore need to be aware of recent changes in alcohol guidelines commissioned by the UK Chief Medical Officers. This paper explores alcohol-related harm, screening tools to facilitate an enquiry, and our roles and responsibilities for providing alcohol advice accepting the limited time available within the dental appointment.

Clinical relevance: Alcohol has both local and systemic effects. Understanding these effects, the recently updated guidelines and available screening tools are important steps towards supporting dental professionals in the provision of alcohol-related advice.

Author notes: Simon Shepherd, BDS, MDSc, MFDS RCS(Ed), RCPS(Glasg), Clinical Lecturer/StR in Oral Surgery University of Dundee and Graham Ogden, BDS, MDSc, PhD, FDS RCPS(Glasg) FDS RCS(Ed), FHEA, FRSA, Professor of Oral Surgery and Head of the Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Clinical Sciences at the University of Dundee; Dean of the Dental Faculty of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow.

Objective: To understand the relevance of alcohol as a risk factor and how to assess patient alcohol intake relative to the recommended UK guidelines.

ADG