London's Pulse: Medical Officer of Health reports 1848-1972

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East Ham 1949

[Report of the Medical Officer of Health for East Ham]

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During the first six months of the year, there were only two
dental officers affording treatment for the school children and
patients under the M. & C.W. Scheme. This resulted in the
conservative treatment of teeth being relegated to second place
while efforts were made to cope with pain and oral sepsis. The
minimum number of dental officers required to carry out dental
treatment efficiently in a Borough with approximately 15,000
school children is four. For nearly twelve months, therefore, the
dental service was only 50 per cent, efficient. A new Dental
Officer, Mrs. P. Osis, D.D.D. was appointed on 9th June, 1949.
However, in spite of the many difficulties encountered during
the year, 18,040 school children were inspected, of whom 7,777
were found to require treatment. The number actually treated
was 6,057, an increase on the previous year. We have endeavoured
to abide by the ideal of inspecting adolescent children twice during
the year, as at that age they need constant dental attention.
The demand for fillings increases year by year, as parents are now
appreciating the value of this type of treatment. The number of
permanent teeth filled was 2,539 and 155 fillings were inserted in
temporary teeth. These figures show a slight decrease on the
previous year, owing to the shortage of staff.
Those parents interested in orthodontic treatment were
advised on the correct method of treating the condition, and the
more difficult cases were referred to hospital. During the year
70 permanent teeth were extracted to facilitate treatment.
Many children have accidents involving damage to upper
front permanent teeth. These teeth can be restored to full function
and the appearance made normal again by crowning. Twenty
of these cases were referred to hospital for this type of treatment.
Details of all figures may be found in Table IV returns to the
Ministry of Education (see Table 57).
The School Dental Service has achieved some prominence
recently owing to the drift of dental officers into private practice.
In some areas the service has completely collapsed. East Ham
may be considered fortunate that they have been able to carry on
the service, although in a reduced capacity.