THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW Highlighting best practice
Although all of our referring dentists are based in Kent and the South East, we do treat patients from further afield, including many from the Midlands and even some from abroad. Of those who come to our practice, around 55 per cent come through referrals, 15 per cent through word of mouth and the rest through our website. As we are a specialist referral centre, we have embraced modern technology. We have an intra-oral scanner, CT scanner and an operating microscope, and we recently invested in laser technology. We have two lasers in the practice that help us to combat gum disease. We are currently in the process of training all our hygienists to use this new technology. Supporting patients to change their behaviour At the heart of our practice remains the principle of providing periodontal care and treating the consequences
of gum disease. One of the biggest problems that we face is changing patients’ behaviour: this is key to combating periodontal disease since our treatment alone will not solve their problem and home care is a vital part of the battle against these diseases. We overcome this by not just providing the treatment, but involving patients, motivating them and helping them to understand the importance of looking after themselves. Our whole treatment philosophy is based on prevention and minimally invasive dentistry. Beyond this, we also prioritise the education of our patients and believe this is key to achieving good results. This covers both oral hygiene and nutrition, and we are one of the few practices in the UK to have employed a nutritionist. We deliver treatment over an extended period of time: active treatment usually lasts between three and six months and we monitor our patients continuously. As periodontal disease is chronic and cannot be cured, only managed, we have tracked some patients for as long as 20 years. Many different factors can inflame existing issues and so we provide long-term support, aiming to ensure our patients’ oral health remains stable. For instance, we have started to treat patients for snoring as not only can this fuel inflammatory diseases, disturbed sleep can also affect one’s wellbeing. To supplement our existing provision, we have focused on supporting wellbeing. Wellness in healthcare can be defined as an approach that emphasises preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasising treating diseases. In dentistry, by adopting a treatment philosophy that favours prevention rather than intervention, we can help patients to be close to a “state of wellbeing”. That might also include a state of acceptance or satisfaction with their present condition.
One of the biggest problems that
we face is changing patients’ behaviour
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