Making patients smile
Asif Khota, dentist at Denta-Care, and the team of hygienists share how the practice approach to patient care is really making a difference, how they are helping many overcome dental phobia and how they are managing disease prevention through professional plaque biofilm management.
Denta-Care Aylesbury is a long established, family orientated practice providing private general dentistry and cosmetic treatments to its Buckinghamshire patients.
Asif explains their ‘whole team’ approach: ‘At Denta-Care, all professionals in the dental team have contact and input to the treatment of patients at the practice. We ensure everyone promotes the same preventative care message and all members of the team are actively encouraged to look at new approaches to oral healthcare.
‘For example, the nursing team has recently been researching the benefits of xylitol in promoting good oral health and the practice is now actively promoting it. Dentists and hygienists work in conjunction with each other to provide a unified and comprehensive treatment plan for all patients and regularly hold case reviews to discuss the best treatments and approaches for patients.’
An excellent experience
Providing an excellent experience from before the patient arrives at the practice to the moment they leave, is of paramount importance to the team. All patients receive reminders for their appointments and on arrival the reception area provides a comfortable place to relax offering free wifi, refreshments and up-to-date magazines.
The reception area is regularly refreshed with engaging display boards and with the latest updates from the practice team. The team aims to anticipate and accommodate patients’ needs so that they have a smooth and stress-free treatment journey and encourage patients to be active participants in their treatment.
The team’s efforts to educate their patients were rewarded back in 2012 when they won a Denplan award for ‘Best National Smile Month Display’. For last year’s campaign the team used the reception display board as a good conversation starter to reinforce the benefits and importance of regular dental visits.
Following the initial conversation they focused on the role dietary sugars can play in dental health, how their impact can be reduced and the importance of using a fluoride mouthwash after meals. Patients were also offered sugar-free gum samples to try. Lastly, the team highlighted the importance of looking after lips and wearing SPF lip balm for protection.
Nervous and phobic patients
The practice sees many patients who are nervous of treatment and aims to build their confidence so that treatment isn’t a traumatic experience. Asif has a passion for treating nervous and phobic patients and has recently gained recognition through dentalphobia.co.uk. As part of this, and in conjunction with a sedation anaesthetist, Asif provides IV sedation treatment, successfully helping many nervous patients overcome longstanding dental phobias using a kind and caring approach.
The team keenly deploys a range of products to encourage patients to take ownership of their own oral hygiene. Ellison, hygienist at Denta-Care, comments: ‘Following our recommendation the vast majority of our patients use Oral-B electric toothbrushes. We often use our Oral-B Pro 6000 demonstration unit in the practice to show the patients the effectiveness of an electric toothbrush on a mouth model.
‘More recently we are finding our new Oral-B Test Drive demonstration unit with disposable hygiene sheaths an invaluable tool that allows us to demonstrate in the patient’s own mouth the correct brushing technique. For patients who already own an electric toothbrush it gives them the opportunity to show us how they use their brush so we can help refine their technique and focus on any areas they struggle to maintain.’
Ellison is also enthusiastic in their promotion of toothpaste: ‘We frequently recommend Oral-B Pro-Expert toothpaste and are educating patients on the benefits of stabilised stannous fluoride over other toothpastes on the market which only contain sodium fluoride.
‘From the wealth of scientific evidence available, and supported by our own experience, the benefits of this toothpaste are reduced plaque levels, reduced gingival bleeding and reduced extrinsic staining. We have also seen improvements in gingival health for patients using Oral-B Pro-Expert Premium Gum Protection toothpaste.’
Management of professional plaque biofilm
One of the most significant observations Asif has made is in the management of professional plaque biofilm. Regular removal of the biofilm reduces maturation and consequent development of caries, gingivitis and periodontitis so its control is critical to the achievement of optimal oral health. Asif explains: ‘Although dental biofilm cannot be eliminated, it can be reduced and controlled through an effective daily oral care regime. We recommend a three-part daily regime of tooth brushing and interdental cleaning to control biofilm accumulation as well as regular use of an alcohol-free fluoride rinse which further inhibits the biofilm.’
However, patient compliance still remains a challenge. Asif continues: ‘Whereas most patients will comply readily with a twice-daily brushing recommendation, we find this is not the case with interdental cleaning. As a team we strongly recommend Oral-B Glide Floss Picks as the excellent design means they are resiliant and simple to use in all areas of the mouth.
These attributes increase the likelihood that patients will use them regularly as part of their oral hygiene regime.’ For the Denta-Care team, spreading the oral hygiene ‘message’ is not just confined to the practice. Significant efforts are also made to engage and keep in touch with patients once they have left the surgery.
Asif details: ‘We continue providing educational messages and oral health advice to patients via social media and through our bi-monthly newsletter. Through Facebook we encourage patients to interact with us between appointments. They can follow the antics of our “Tiny Team”, a set of Playmobil people that we regularly photograph in amusing situations and accompany with light hearted captions. Our aim is to reach out and catch the attention of patients, make them smile and encourage them to see us as real people rather than just “the dentist”.’