Meet the Dentist – Dr. Paul Cochrane0
Dr. Paul Cochrane
The son of a Coleraine farming family, Paul Cochrane’s no stranger to graft. While his journey to the top of his profession involved a lot of hard work – including the best part of the last 10 years at post graduate level – his passion for dentistry has never waned. Indeed his recent appointment to the team at Foyle Dental Spa in Queen Street, has, if anything, redoubled his commitment to change. And he became a dad just six weeks ago – a life changing departure point he’s relishing in this family oriented practice.
What’s your academic background?
My primary degree was in Science and Anatomy from Dundee University; I then studied Dentistry also at Dundee graduating with Honours and I then undertook an MA in Healthcare Law and Ethics at, you’ve guessed it, Dundee. I currently lecture for the university in the subject and I’m a course coordinator in Law and Ethics at the university.
How might medical ethics make a difference?
My longer term aim is to help patients who’ve been harmed – get their redress.
What’s different about your approach?
Where do I start … our approach is entirely inclusive – we impart our knowledge to mum and dad as much as the child. Educating the parents in a way that’s non-judgemental, straightforward and non-intimidatory.
Ours is an extremely supportive environment. It’s important to offer reassurance to the parent/s when they’ve done something that’s right And the full range of Foyle Dental Spa’s services and techniques are available to the parents and that includes cosmetic dentistry, gum and oral health, endodontics. A very wide range of skills are represented within the team.
I live in this area – I don’t want people to be over awed or to settle for anything less – I want to be open and honest with the people I meet.
When should your child first see their dentist?
The earlier the opportunity we have to see the child the earlier we can reassure them that there’s nothing to fear.
What if my child’s distressed at even the thought of going to the dentist?
That usually indicates a bad experience in the past or at least the perception that something bad or painful lies ahead. We start off by creating totally different associations in your child’s head.
It’s not our job to create bad memories – if anything we would hope that a child won’t even be able to recall their first visit to the dentist. We can control anxiety levels – the result we are looking for is a good experience at your dentist. If we do that – we’ve won.
Have you a guiding principle?
My approach to everything I do is evidence based – I don’t work on hunches. In NI I’m sad to say, the guidelines are poor. But I follow the UK guidance for children and adults – that makes me predictable, consistent, safe. I don’t take risks and I think when it comes to putting your child’s health into someone else’s hands, that’s something every parent needs to know.
With my first child, a daughter, born just six weeks ago – my family is my hobby at the minute. I’m from a strong farming background. My family still have a beef farm on the edge of Coleraine – so my relaxation is the farm.
I love all sports but especially football. I’ve also run a few half marathons – but I don’t have much time to run at the moment. My family are crucial and I’m very deeply committed to that.
How do you like to be known?
Paul, not Dr, not Dr Paul and certainly not Dr Cochrane.
Do you need to see your dentist every six months?
There’s no hard and fast rule, when it comes to your mouth, one size definitely won’t fit all. Some people will need to see their dentist more frequently than once every six months: for others – once yearly is sufficient.
Are you a sweet grinch?
I’m not anti-sugar – to take that stance would be pointless. We offer advice on how to eat sugar safely – it would be wrong, unhelpful and a wee bit judgemental to say ‘kids shouldn’t eat sweets’.
What does your mouth say about your overall health?
There is a massive link between dental health and general health – plaque and heart problems certain cardiac surgeons won’t operate if you’ve an infection in your mouth.
Do you get what you pay for in dentistry?
At Foyle Dental Spa we think you get much more than what you pay for. There are no limits on the options we can provide in both child and adult dentistry. And there’s no limit on the techniques and materials we use. Dental technology is moving so quickly that the only way to keep apace is to constantly train and retrain and we have the opportunity to do that here.