Secret of our success: the practices shortlisted for the DH&T award 2011

The judges have shortlisted these two practices for the DH&T Award 2011 and the winner is up to you. Here, a profile of their oral hygiene approach

Here are the finalists for the Dental Hygiene & Therapy Award 2011, designed to recognise the UK practice with the strongest, best established and well thought out oral health ethos. As a team, it will successfully communicate the oral health message to their patients, and will work together to raise oral health standards and regard prevention as its number one priority.

The judging

An independent panel of judges have chosen these practices as the finalists. DH&T would like to thank all the entries submitted, but the judges felt the finalists had the edge on all the rest with regards to their approach to their patients’ oral health.

How to vote

All readers need to do to vote is email their preferred practice to [email protected] The winner will be published in the next issue of DH&T. Votes need to be submitted by 6 April. Please add your name and the name of your practice.

The prize

£500 to spend as the winning team whether it be a night out to celebrate or an investment in new equipment.

Thanks to our sponsor

Thank you to our official sponsor, Oral-B. Without this support, the award would not be possible.

Alison Thompson is a hygienist who owns her own practice.  

Based in Eastbourne in Sussex, she reveals The Dental Barn’s ethos…

‘ I’m a hygienist with my own practice, so I’m able to set my own preventive programmes for the practice. I have to work out what I am going to do? Do I go full speed ahead blast everybody with prevention and scare patients witless or do we take our time and slowly work our magic? When you are newly qualified you think every patient will do exactly as you ask; reality is that it is just not the case.

Life gets in the way, new babies, illness and the death of loved ones often affect the home care of our patients. So, I decided that we would have a programme tailored for each patient over time. The most important part of the hygienist appointments is plaque checks. We really praise patients when they have maintained or improved areas. I never tell patients off and make suggestions for improvements. What would you rather be nagged or praised!

Sometimes, patients’ lives affect their care and this is always met with sympathy and understanding explaining that they will get back to good maintenance when life settles down.

Most of our patients are highly motivated and ask how pockets/bleeding are improving. But we always have that small group of patients that no matter how you help them their oral health and perio conditions never improve.

Our prevention ethos is patient centred as they are the most important part of our practice.

I would love to win this award as I’m sure hygienist practices are the future of preventive care.

Tailor made

Initial examination by the dentist

• BPE score taken and assessment made of perio condition

• Photos taken of calculus/stain i.e. lingual

• Bone loss shown on bitewings/pa radiographs

• Brief explanation of need to see hygienist and explain that may not

have any cleaning at first appointment

• If it is felt the patient needs a perio consult this is discussed

and a referral sent

• Children are assessed for oral health and caries risk

First hygienist visit

• Chat explaining plaque, calculus, bleeding and bone loss. Very little technical jargon is used

• If 3 or more on BPE score that area is 6-point pocket charted and the pocketing explained to the patient. It is explained to patients

with heart problems and diabetes that they must look after their perio conditions

• Chat re: current home care and advice on how to improve this. I don’t use models, I demonstrate cleaning techniques in the patient’s

mouth and ask them to ‘have a go’. Appointments needed are discussed to bring them back to health

• One of the most important things the patient leaves this appointment with is, it is a team effort between them and us and that maintenance is key

• A large number of our patients are seen on a three-monthly basis with our most susceptible patients seen on a two-monthly basis

• Regular examinations include a BPE score and areas noted for attention by hygienist

• Maintenance appointments include 6-point pocket charting on BPE 3 or above. RSD with local if needed

• All children at the practice have six-monthly OHI appointments with hygienist








The Avenue Dental Practice is situated in a beautiful 19th-century Victorian house, set within a conservation area, locally known as the ‘Harley Street’ of East Anglia.

Dr Nik Pandya joined The Avenue Dental Practice in 1990. He is currently chair of the practitioners’ section of the British Society of Periodontology and member of the education committee.

He is the past chair of the North Essex section of the British Dental Association and is an active member of the ADI, AAP and ICOI. Dr Pandya has a passion for research and lecturing and has presented and lectured both in the UK and abroad.

The Avenue is primarily a specialist periodontal referral practice having a referral base of 250-plus referring practitioners in the UK, and has a dedicated and caring team of professionals who offer exceptional periodontal care.

The practice has a team of six periodontists (most of whom Dr Pandya has taught as postgraduates at The Royal London) helped by four hygienists and supported by six dental nurses, four clerical and three reception staff.

The practice has now expanded with inclusion of support from two prosthodontists (one having an interest in endodontics and has completed a postgraduate diploma), and a visiting oral surgeon. Being a postgraduate tutor, Dr Pandya also has the third year masters’ students of periodontology having a clinical attachment at the practice.

Cure or prevention?

Dr Nik Pandya says: ‘As a periodontal practice, we specialise in the only thing we can. When no cure exists, there is only prevention. As with any ailment, patients seek help when it becomes a problem.

‘Sadly, periodontal disease is a silent killer, and, by the time patients are worried enough to act, it is often too late. This is why, as a periodontist, treating advanced periodontal problems is not even the half of it.

‘Here at The Avenue we are a dedicated team working together with general dentists from surrounding areas towards a common goal. We rely on our general dental practitioners to routinely screen their patients’ periodontal condition, and alert the patient when any changes occur, subsequently referring to us.

‘They rely on patients to come regularly for check ups and recommended treatments. The patients rely on their dentists’ expertise and guidance, and the dentists rely on our dependable service and feedback.

‘As knowledge is power, we must know our enemy. As we are relying on somebody else to recognise our enemy, we must empower them with the knowledge they need.’

Innovative approach

• We offer lunch-and-learn courses to all dental professionals keen to learn what we do, how to pick up key signs, and how to educate patients

• All our patients receive one-to-one advice and treatment planning with their practitioner

• We cover everything from which toothbrush to how often they should see their hygienist

• From the very first visit when the patients journey begins they understand the answers to: What is gum disease? How does it work?

Why do I have it?

• Dental aids and information are given to the patient over the course of their treatment

• All information is followed up with written instruction and confirmation

• Patients are given every opportunity to ask questions, with follow-up calls and review visits

• Patients have time with DCPs outside the surgery where they may even be too shy to ask the periodontist what may seem a silly question

• Once a patient has undergone the three stages of learning, and can competently instruct another on their oral hygiene, we are happy

knowing they can impart their new found wisdom to friends, family and children, insisting they look after their teeth

Innovative practice

• We offer a full range of periodontal from treatment of diseases, including peri-implant tissues, to cosmetic soft tissue surgery

• We offer comprehensive implant treatment where complex rehabilitation are carried out in-house and other can be restored by referring dentists

• Our referring dentists are closely involved in all the patient care and management

• We have a caring and friendly approach

• Our aim is to provide a service that is second to none

• We aim to listen to the wishes of our patients, tailoring treatment to the

individual and discussing treatment options and costs

• We strive to exceed their expectations so that informed choices can be made, whether they are short-term or long-standing patients

• Patients are always able to contact us 24 hours a day, to ensure they receive the best care possible

• We provide a flexible approach to appointments

• Our waiting room has been maintained as a lounge which enables patients to relax in the ambient setting

• Patient safety and the quality of dental care is our top priority

• We are committed to providing the highest standards possible

• All clinical staff are involved in continuing professional development and we have a programme of on-going training appropriate to the needs of the practice, adhering to GDC, BDA and CQC guidelines.

• Our staff also have on-going appraisals to maintain the high standards expected in both clinical and non-clinical situations.

Following extensive refurbishment, The Avenue Dental Practice is now able to provide training and conference facilities and will soon be offering various courses for both practitioners and DCPs.


To vote for the practice to win the DH&T award, please email [email protected] with your choice, your name and the practice you’re from.

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