COVER sits down with Dr Catherine Rutland to discuss the importance of dental plans, the biggest threats to our oral health and the feel-good factor of supporting better health
As head of professional support services for Simplyhealth, Dr Catherine Rutland leads a team that offers assistance to dentists connected to its health plans.
An expert in her field, she is often called upon for advice related to running successful practices and to provide help were needed.
A qualified dentist herself, she is passionate about good oral care and a strong advocate for the importance of dental hygiene in relation to general health.
Visiting the dentist regularly and improved education around prevention is vital, she believes - we asked her to fill us in.
When did you start working at Simplyhealth?
"I started my role almost nine years ago, a day a week and gradually got drawn in to full time and more!"
Please tell us a little bit about your role…
"I head up a team that provide support to our member dentists and their practice teams. This focuses around regulatory and legislative support, clinical mediation support and providing guidance and support to our practices and other teams within the business when something, almost anything, goes a little off track. I also do a lot of presenting around my role and attend stakeholder meetings with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and General Dental Council (GDC) to better inform the business and our members."
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
"As I am now no longer treating patients, being able to support practices to provide great care for their patients is a really good feeling. I am very lucky in that I find all parts of my role rewarding and it is hard to single out any part of it. My role is hugely varied, with no two days the same and that makes it interesting, stimulating and fulfilling."
Why are dental plans such a vital employee benefit?
"There are more and more links being found between oral and general health. Dental plans encourage people to go and see their practice regularly and therefore pick up issues and problems in their early stages. As with anything, treating something early provides better and mainly less invasive outcomes."
What are the greatest threats to our oral health?
"We are seeing a huge rise in oral cancer, affecting younger patients as well as the older smokers and drinkers we have related it to in the past. It is so important to go and have your mouth checked regularly, ideally every six months in most cases, to pick up any soft tissue changes early and therefore improve prognosis. The two other most important areas, gum health and tooth decay are largely preventable with good education and care and knowing how to look after your mouth every day."
What useful advice can you give employee benefits consultants regarding dental plans?
"We are now becoming more focused generally on taking control of our own health and wellbeing. Having a dental plan should encourage people to take that control, be seen regularly and have a confident healthy smile. This impacts everything they do and all their interactions, as the old saying goes, smile and the world smiles with you!"
Dr Catherine Rutland is head of professional support services of Simplyhealth Professionals
Want to learn more about dental plans? Read our interactive eBook here.