The bigger picture

Hygienist Rumana Husein reviews Mel Prebble’s ‘Complete Hygienist Experience’

Melonie Prebble, founder and director of Sound Performance Coaching, gave an enlightening and informative training day for hygienists and therapists who wanted to improve on their clinical and communication skills.  The day, based at the modern Henry Schein Europe centre in the heart of central London, provided the backdrop for an excellent and well-delivered presentation to a group of 12 hygienists/therapists. After a brief introduction, the delegates listened to an update on the classification of periodontal disease providing us with a reminder of the symptoms, risk factors and treatment protocol for each type of disease. We were also reminded that we no longer needed to remove cementum when root planing and using the term root surface periodontal debridement, remove the biofilm and subgingival deposits to allow reattachment of the periodontal ligament fibres.

Take a ‘walk’

Melonie then moved on to different methods of probing and useful adaptations of the BPE probe when ‘walking’ around the tooth and especially with interproximal probing techniques where access can be difficult.  Instrumentation was also covered with the use of Gracey curettes, Langer curettes and ultrasonic inserts. It was interesting to learn how we could minimise the risk of personal injury and optimise practical instrumentation with minimal effort. Altering the water flow with cavitron use enabled the correct flow for deplaquing and for calculus removal. Delegates were split into groups, practising instrumentation with hand instruments and ultrasonics and were able to try probing techniques on each other in dedicated ‘treatment room’ areas where Melonie reinforced ergonomics and probing techniques.

A comprehensive look

Group study followed where we analysed radiographs identifying conditions and discussing treatment regime and outcomes. The sponsors, Dentsply, gave an insight and update into the different ultrasonic inserts available on the market and the current methods of maintenance employed. The afternoon started with how we as clinicians should take a comprehensive approach and give each patient an understanding of their dental condition and their risk of progression of disease, its effects on the system and general health.  We were advised to look at the ‘bigger picture’ and not just the periodontal and restorative condition but at the occlusion, TMJ and aesthetics.

Get VAK?

The next part of the programme was an informative and interactive session on communication skills. We learned how people think in three ways, ‘VAK’ i.e. visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. We can to identify the type of patients with whom we deal in our daily lives from this model and gain ideas and tips on the language and tone to use to build rapport and win confidence with our patients. Delegates then participated in an active listening workshop where we could listen to scenarios and provide feedback on how to deal with situations as they arise. Melonie reiterated the importance of creating the best patient/hygienist relationship and using what we had learned today would enable us to use our knowledge to provide best practice.

Course objectives

•    Understand and demonstrate current periodontal diagnostics, including probing techniques

•    Participate in an active listening workshop to enhance communication

•    Learn the core principals of comprehensive dentistry

•    Consider and discuss the secondary factors associated with periodontal disease and how we use them as a communication tool

•    Discuss current instrumentation techniques

For further information and information on the forthcoming courses – 6 April 2013 – contact Melonie Prebble at Sound Performance Coaching.


Rumana Husein qualified as a dental hygienist from Leeds Dental Hospital in 1990. Since her qualification, she gained a teaching certificate that enables her to teach dental nurses. Over the last five years, she has been working in Pune, India, lecturing at a teaching hospital and giving talks to charities and schools in oral health education. Now, that she has returned to the UK, she is embarking on a postgraduate education, from radiography to whitening teeth and plans to further her dental knowledge to improve best practice.

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