A long-term preventative strategy starts with taking time to get to know your patients and their background and listening to what they are saying. Do you know which of your patients are at greater risk of coronary heart disease, stroke or diabetes due to factors such as family history or lifestyle? Are they aware that periodontal disease can increase the risk of these conditions (as supported by a huge body of research)? Or that their implant treatment could be compromised by smoking due to the increased risk of peri-implantitis[i]?
Open channels of communication and an approachable attitude are fundamental for every member of the dental team. From the minute a patient steps inside your surgery the atmosphere should be friendly and supportive.
One of the major challenges will be patient compliance so it’s important to recommend high quality adjunctive products in order that effective oral hygiene routines can be maintained at home.
Leading products such as the proven Wisdom Clean Between Interdental Brushes have soft, rubber filaments, which make them easy and comfortable to use for all patients including those with implants, fillings or crowns, or orthodontic appliances. They are particularly beneficial for patients who have found wire interdental brushes difficult or painful to use in the past, as the design allows for a gentle yet thorough clean. With a tapered stem they are available in three sizes to allow access to varying sizes of gaps between the teeth. Wisdom Clean Between Interdental Brushes are clinically proven to remove plaque from interdental spaces, thereby reducing the risk of gingival disease[ii],[iii] for enhanced oral health. In a recent poll, they were also recommended by 100% of dental professionals[iv].
From September Wisdom will be offering, via dental wholesalers, a Dentist Surgery Pack of Wisdom Clean Between Interdental Brushes for you to use on patients. These will consist of a dispenser box with 100 cello-wrapped sample packs of each colour of brush, with a solution suitable for every patient you see.
As a practitioner your job is to help your patients achieve and maintain a high standard of oral health all-year round. Invest time in every person who comes into your surgery and talk to them about how important their contribution is in maintaining healthy teeth and gingiva. It’s about working together, adapting a routine as circumstances demand and supporting each other by making simple changes. Small changes to patients’ home-care oral routine such as the addition of the Wisdom Clean Between Interdental Brushes, can make a huge difference to their dental health and general well being for years to come.
For further information please visit www.wisdom-toothbrushes.com or call 01440 714800
[i] Strietzel FP, Reichart PA, Kale A, et al. Smoking interferes with the prognosis of dental implant treatment: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Clin Periodontol. 2007;34(6):523-544.
[ii] Yost et el, Interproximal gingivitis and plaque reduction by four interdental products. J Clin Dent. 2006;17(3):79-83.
[iii] Prof. Dr. Petra Ratka-Krüger et al, Clinical trial of a metal-free interdental brush. University Medical Centre Freiburg, Germany. Pub Nov 2010.
[iv]BDTA 2013/2014, poll carried out by Wisdom during events.
Running to Paradise Garden
by Nicolas Alejandro
https://www.facebook.com/nicolas.alejandro.ph Shown under Creative Commons licence
I was surprised to see the advice we give our patients has not changed much in over 40 years! I am reading a book called “The Tooth Trip” that was written by dentist Thomas McGuire in 1972; he describes the same prevention based dentistry we practice today. This book was written for the public to understand oral diseases and their role in preventing it.
Some of the book is way off the mark with recipes for making homemade toothpaste with Sage, Myrrh and powdered roots. Making toothbrushes from twigs and sticks does not sound like the best use of an hour of your time. What resonated so strongly with me was the descriptions of self-examination of your mouth and emphasis on prevention and working together with your dentist. A whole chapter was on dental emergencies and what constitutes a real emergency- severe or recurrent bleeding or severe pain not relived by painkillers. Just getting your patients to read this chapter alone would save thousands of wasted dental appointments. There was sensible honest advice on how and why teeth can hurt and how you can prevent it and work together with your dental team to stop it recurring.
In our modern age, if we educate our patients in the causes of dental disease and how it is entirely preventable, they too could have healthy mouths and lower dental bills. Despite the fact that most of this information is freely available on the internet or in the leaflets that some dental practices give out, not much has changed. Why is that?
I feel that until the information is specifically tailored to our patents and they can see the benefit from following that specific advice, they will switch off. If you promote the fact that you fix teeth, they will just come and expect you to fix them. This is where modern dental teams come in. We need to genuinely listen to our patients, do not interrupt them, let them get their whole story out. Examine their mouth, show them the evidence of disease in a clear and non-judgemental way. Explain their options and how as a team, you can return their mouth to health. Make them understand that without them, all your treatment will fail. Spending extra time now will save hours of treatment in the future and help educate a generation that loves going to the dentist. All good dentists want their work to be appreciated and to last a life-time.
Four Dental sins from the 1970’s that Dentists still do to this day:
1. Leaflet avoidance. Handing your patients reading matter to explain your treatment and asking them to go home to go through it. Nothing beats a face to face discussion where you allow them time to discuss their personal fears and questions. Leaflets should be only a back-up once the conversation has taken place.
2. Technical jargon. Using dental terminology or complex words to explain your diagnosis and treatment. All professions have jargon. The skilled dentists explain it in a language that that specific patient will understand.
3. Carrying out treatment whilst discussing the patient’s options. No-one can fully concentrate when lying on their back with theirs mouth open or having treatment carried out. Stop, sit the patient up and have a face to face conversation.
4. Bulldozing. Talking it through you your patient until they are worn down and just say yes. Nothing is life or death that you need to decide there and then. Place a temporary filling and then explain the options; pros, cons and cost. Then let them go away and think about it.
James Goolnik is a practising Dentist and his book “Brush” donates 100% of the profits to Dentaid. He recently led a team of 8 dental professionals to Malawi to install two dental chairs, equipment and deliver skills transfer workshops from these proceeds. He is a trustee of the charity “Heart your Smile”.