The butterfly effect
For many years, survey results have placed the dental health of the population in east Lancashire among the worst in Europe. But practice principal Shabs Patel and his team, at the multi award-winning Magicsmiles in Blackburn, are determined to change the fortunes of their local area.
Shabs says: ‘We firmly believe all our work is built on a foundation of good dental health. It has been shown that a great smile can defy ageing more than any other part of the body. Also, with the connection between good dental health and overall health now well established – a good example of this is diabetes – improvements in gum disease can mean related improvement in conditions elsewhere in the body.’
Shabs opened the doors to his new practice, Magicsmiles, four years ago and explains: ‘When I see a patient for the first time, I want to repair any problems, and raise the patients level of dental fitness so they have very little deterioration over the coming years. This is done though a partnership with the patient and this long-term stability is my gift to the patients; we have a strong preventative ethos.’
He advocates what he describes as incremental improvement. He explains: ‘I think it is better to have some improvement in a given time than no improvement. Sometimes it may be because it is too much for a patient to take on board at the beginning of this journey to dental health, or they may not feel the benefit or relate directly to the healthier version of themselves.’
A regular dental health review is a fundamental part of a patient’s long-term dental health programme at Magicsmiles and a printed report is the practice’s reference at every recall visit. Shabs explains: ‘It took us a long time before we discovered that the only possible way to deliver good dental health was using the whole team. We call this eight-handed dentistry and, through this, the team understands that each and every one of them is involved in the Magicsmiles experience. Using eight-handed dentistry for our communication means that a patient will be rehearsed by four people on the messages we think are important.’
Oral-B is a fundamental part of the dental health programme. The team’s anecdotal experiences would support all the research done on the Oral-B Triumph brushes.
Shabs says: ‘People who use them have significantly less plaque build-up, less gum inflammation, and less deterioration of their teeth. We are also recommending Oral-B’s Pro-expert toothpaste which we like a lot for the hybrid technology providing multiple benefits for the patient.’
Statistically, east Lancashire is one of the worst areas for poor dental health in Europe and Shabs believes the answer lies in the butterfly effect – where a small change can result in big differences.
He explains: ‘In our own work, we can bring about enormous change in other areas of a patient’s life. Dental health brings better job prospects, giving a smile improves the social confidence with the people around us. Quite simply, a strong ethos in prevention of dental problems improves lives.’