COVID – a blessing in disguise for dentists
The COVID-19 pandemic is making patients take responsibility for their own oral health. It opens a door to a conversation about the link between perio disease and systemic illness, says Dr Victoria Sampson.
‘Weirdly, the COVID pandemic has been a blessing in disguise for dental professionals’. This was the surprising view of London dental practitioner Dr Victoria Sampson, speaking at Biomin’s expert panel session at the recent Oral Health Summit.
Because patients have been unable to visit their dentist for checkups, or get their teeth professionally cleaned by the hygienist during lockdown, they have been obliged to take more responsibility for their own oral health. Many have cleaned much more thoroughly and appreciate what dental professionals do.
A prolific Instagrammer, who has also published multiple papers, Dr Sampson has found that the COVID pandemic has created a ‘door’ to discuss oral and general health more naturally with her patients.
She noted that the last year has changed many people’s priorities. Previously in surveys, health was not of top importance. But in 2021: ‘People put health first, followed by fitness and family. Our priorities have really shifted,’ she said.
‘Look after your mouth’
Dr Sampson has developed a strong interest in the oral microbiome. During the pandemic she carried out extensive research into the correlations between gum disease, higher risk of developing COVID-19 complications, and other systemic disease.
She is very concerned with the importance of communicating this to patients. ‘COVID has given us an opportunity to say: there is now evidence that gum disease increases your risk of complications from COVID. But also your risk of other systemic diseases. These don’t go away unless you look after your mouth,’ she said.
Many of Dr Sampson’s patients want a dentist with a holistic approach – and several do not want to use a fluoride toothpaste.
Rather than trying to dissuade them from this if they are set on it, she is happy to have an alternative to offer them that she can believe in – Biomin C.
‘I tell them: “If you are going to go fluoride free, then that’s OK. But you do increase your risk of decay. I want you to use a highly remineralising toothpaste and I will see you more regularly.” Most of them are ok with that,’ she said. ‘You need to adapt and give other options. Biomin C is perfect for these patients.’
When carrying out whitening treatments, Biomin F has become part of her protocol. She believes any whitening system can cause sensitivity.
She asks patients to start using Biomin F two weeks ahead of starting treatment. And then ‘I make them buy Biomin F and use it twice daily while they are continuing with whitening.’ If they experience severe sensitivity she recommends they take a day off, and put Biomin F into their trays overnight.
Some patients alternate whitening and toothpaste in order to keep up the treatment. ‘It makes the process achievable,’ she said. ‘I hate it when patients give up, and they lose their trust in you. This toothpaste really works.’
Dr Sampson showed a case where a patient had lost a lot of tooth enamel and experienced extreme sensitivity.
Following Invisalign treatment she had whitening treatment, alternating daily with Biomin F. Two weeks later, her teeth were as shown.
‘It’s fantastic. The patient described her teeth as looking and feeling younger,’ said Dr Sampson. ‘Not only are they significantly whiter, but the texture and the look of the teeth have changed. They look stronger and more mineralised. There’s no “see through”. She loves it and continues to use it.’
‘I absolutely love Biomin,’ she said. ‘I use it myself and encourage all my patients to use it – whether they have sensitivity, are at risk of decay, or just want a good general toothpaste. It’s brilliant, feels nice and tastes nice, and has so many added benefits.
‘I believe that dentists should believe in everything they recommend and use it themselves. By recommending a toothpaste I strongly believe in and I know patients will benefit from means I can maintain and build their trust.’
For more information on Biomin F, visit biomin.co.uk.
Next time – Dr Ariane Sampson, orthodontist.