Naresh Kumar Mohindra
Innovation usually occurs at the coalface but research is rarely done by general practitioners. Let me explain how I, as a general practitioner came to be involved in research. I had a young son son who developed a serious illness and was not expected to live beyond the age of five. If he did reach this age, it was possible he could have a transplant. Fortunately, he did survive and against all the odds, went into remission and did not need a transplant until adulthood. This experience was life changing. The fact that the doctors caring for him were stretching the boundaries of their knowledge and experience to the limit, encouraged me to want to do the same in my profession. I started to look at dentistry from this perspective. This led me into the field of facial pain and it was here that I discovered that one of the basic rules of dentistry could be challenged.
I believed that it was paramount to put the technique I had developed on a scientific basis. What I had was just anecdotal evidence but in these days of evidence based treatments, the role of anecdotal evidence should not be undervalued. The important role of anecdotes must be acknowledged, studied and utilized, and that is why I wanted this paper published and the technique put on a scientific basis.
I was fortunate to have the support of Mike Grace, the then editor of the British Dental Journal who recognised that my early attempts at publication would not be successful and supported me in my journey to publication. He introduced me to Dr. David Davies, a consultant at King’s College, London who specialised in dentures, and who guided me through the scientific way of doing research.
Gathering evidence can be laborious, time consuming and therefore costly, and hence not usually carried out in general practice. However, working in general practice does have the advantage that there are fewer restrictions than in organisations completely dedicated to gathering scientific proof.
It took me four long years to get this paper published. I was then to discover that one of the most interesting aspects about scientific research is that when one door is opened, many more will appear. My scientific journey was only just beginning.