Philips sponsors a lecture duet about digital scanning at the Oral Health Conference this November

A joint lecture being presented at the BSDHT’s Oral Health Conference by Hygienist Anna Middleton and Dentist Alif Moosajee will examine how and why a digital intraoral scanner is an invaluable tool for the whole dental team, and how it not only enhances teamwork and improves workflow, but ultimately enriches the patient experience, improves communication about their treatments and what can be achieved for them.

The speakers will illustrate how harnessing digital technology has helped create a closer work bond and communication flow between dentist and hygienist/ therapist.

For Anna Middleton the digital scanner she uses has also served as a fantastic educational tool which has helped her have deeper discussions with patients as they can immediately see their teeth on the screen. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this couldn’t be more useful in practice for igniting engagement.

As Anna commented: “Intra-oral scanning is very powerful for effective communication, consent, long term monitoring and record keeping, and can all be undertaken as part of a hygienist-therapist’s scope of practice. My business was founded after the awarding of direct access status, and often I am the first person a new patient meets in practice. Within my scope of practice, I am able to do so much to engage with patients and what I really enjoy is the ability to offer completely tailored long term solutions for them. I find a treatment plan sells itself because of the insights the iTero system I use provides, and the increased case uptake makes it highly profitable for the practice”.

Alif Moosajee advises that in his practice, there is no doubt that the role of a hygienist and therapist is of paramount importance and during this lecture, he will highlight the benefits of working in tandem with his, from a practice principal’s perspective:

“Patients are becoming more savvy and more willing than ever to have private treatment. They see all these lovely bright white smiles in the media and have high expectations when they come through our doors. They do not understand the journey they have to go through and that’s where we, as a team, need to work on their expectations and set realistic goals”.

He adds: “Dentistry should be fun and exciting. But if you don’t have the right tools and a good team behind you, that’s when you are left with a degree of unpredictability that can cause stress. And that’s why digital dentistry is not something to dismiss for future consideration. With a strong team, digital scanners can enable some of the workload to be delegated, which frees up the dentist to undertake more high value treatments. Your hygienist and therapist can also bring in patients who will ultimately ask for more high value dentistry. So the whole team process spirals positively”.

Implementing a digital strategy for the practice, the team and the patient enables the initiation of a much more efficient workflow. Anna explains that all new patients are seen by her for an hour, and during this time she performs a scan and triages patients, referring them to other members of the team.

She has found that there are many more hygienists and therapists carving out their own businesses and brands and seeking further autonomy. They are looking to expand their scope of practice and vary their daily work. Digital scanning is just one of the many additional skills they can add to their armory to enhance the way they work.

Well-defined: Making the link between digital scanning and tooth whitening

The link between digital scanning and tooth whitening is well-defined; as an intra-oral scanner can be used to create highly accurate digital impressions from which to fabricate tailored trays for every patient, doing away with the need for alginate and ensuring the most accurate fitting trays – and an enhanced patient experience.

Whitening is a gateway treatment and an obvious channel for hygienists and therapists to engage with patients. According to Anna, who is a Philips Ambassador, that’s where the magic happens. Tooth whitening also provides a platform for hygienist and therapist to develop new skills and thrive in practice. It also increases referrals to the dentist as patients invariably want to progress to more complex treatments. It is a win: win with everyone in the team working on more interesting and fulfilling cases.

By empowering the hygienist/therapist to undertake whitening, the dentist can focus on what they do best without wasting precious clinical time on treatments which can be beautifully handled by the hygienist and therapist. The practice wins by adding more value to patients, and profitability will always follow.

According to Anna, delegates will gain a better understanding about intra-oral scanning and its benefits to the patient, the practice and the team from the point of view of a hygienist and a practice principal to achieve multi-disciplinary care, which they can then take back to their practices to discuss and implement.

Alif concurs: “I hope that the talk is going to provide a good insight to understand what digital implementation has done for my practice, for my patients, and for me as principal. I will explain how important it is to get your team on board, how to manage your time effectively and maximise your potential”.

He adds, “People who would like to investigate digitalisation further can often request a loan scanner and see how it can be utilised in their own practice before committing – and I wonder how soon it will be before they realise they can’t do without it?”

Delegates will leave with a practical understanding of how to acquire a good scan for best patient results and start applying this information to their hygiene-therapy scope of practice, including tooth whitening, pre-orthodontics, restorative and patient monitoring.

The duo hopes to encourage dental professionals to get scanning and familiarise themselves with the wide variety of scanner functions by practicing on team members and then patients. They need to learn how they can use this fantastic tool to maximise their patients’ outcomes – functional, aesthetic and oral health for years to come.

Both Alif Moosajee and Anna Middleton are Philips Ambassadors. Their lecture iTero scanning – why and how? takes place at the BSDHT Annual Conference on Saturday 28th November 2020 at 10:05.

For more information about the BSDHT Conference, please visit https://www5.shocklogic.com/scripts/jmevent/Registration.asp?Client_Id=%27PP%27&Project_Id=%27BSDHT20V%27&System_Id=2

BSDHT supports BADN in its call for recognition of dental nurses’ contributions to dentistry

The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) thanks the British Association of Dental Nurses (BADN) for their support of our campaign to raise awareness and inspire change for chairside dental nurse support to be the accepted norm for all dental hygienists and dental therapists working in clinical practice.

To drive the campaign forward we lend our full support to BADN in their call for dental nurses to be recognised for their contribution to dentistry. Dental nurses are registered dental care professionals and must be recognised as such – by employers, by colleagues and by the NHS. 

BSDHT supports BADN’s call for all dental nurses in general dental practice to be paid a salary which acknowledges not only their invaluable contribution to the dental team but also their training, knowledge and professionalism. This does mean not just minimum wage.  

The NHS should also afford dental nurses working in NHS practices the same rights and benefits as all other NHS employees.

BSDHT and BADT contact GDC concerning overseas dentists registering as Dental Therapists and Hygienists without practical assessment

The British Association of Dental Therapists (BADT) and the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) have taken the unusual step of directly contacting each appointed Council member of the General Dental Council regarding overseas dentists registering as Dental Therapists and Dental Hygienists without any practical assessment of clinical skills.

Both BADT and BSDHT feel that continuing interactions with the executive function of the GDC regarding this matter have failed to produce any positive movement towards change in a situation that both organisations feel compromises patient safety. By directly raising awareness to the appointed Council members, BADT and BSDHT hope to move the discussion into the public forum to ensure change, in order to “protect patient safety and maintain public confidence in dental services”.

The letter reads as follows:

The British Association of Dental Therapists and the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy are jointly lobbying all members of Council to initiate an urgent and public Council meeting agenda item regarding the registration of overseas trained dentists (outwith the EEA) as dental hygienists and dental therapists without any practical assessment of their ability to diagnose and treat dental disease.

There has been a 300% increase via this route to registration since 2017 and is being fuelled by several agencies actively recruiting individuals predominantly from India and Pakistan. These agencies advertise and demonstrate that this route to registration requires no Overseas Registration Exam (ORE). We have evidence of dentists who have failed the ORE more than once yet gone on to register as dental hygienists and dental therapists. When asked, the GDC refuses to share the legal advice they were given that led to this flood of registrations.

Are you, a member of Council, satisfied the “robust” process applied by the Registration Assessment Committee satisfies your remit of protecting patients? We, the BADT and BSDHT, advise all members of Council that this route to registration presents risk of serious harm to patients because of the lack of a practical skills assessment. We strongly feel that the mapping of learning outcomes carried out by the Registration Committee is woefully inadequate. We do not accept the representation by GDC executive arm that a lack of evidence of harm being caused by these individuals demonstrates the above is a safe route to registration as a dental hygienist and dental therapist.

13 of the 15 tests applied at an ORE are applicable to the scope of practice of dental hygienists and dental therapists. Various Freedom of Information Requests that have been shared publicly clearly demonstrate that around 50% of those taking the ORE fail at the practical assessment stage. We say that this is evidence enough that there is an obvious risk of patients coming to permanent harm should these individuals go on to register as dental hygienists and dental therapists. We ask:

Would you choose an individual who has failed the ORE, gone on to register as a dental therapist, to extract your children’s teeth; would you let them provide you with a filling? We ask you apply the daughter test to the above question.

Would you allow your daughter to undergo treatment by such an individual?

We contend that Section 36C (5)(a)(ii) of the Dentist Act gives the GDC the power to enforce a test on these individuals. We ask that the GDC suspend this route to registration in the interest of patient safety and treats this matter with the upmost urgency.

BSDHT issues letter highlighting the importance of dental nursing support for Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists

The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) has sent out a letter highlighting the importance of dental nursing support for Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists.

The letter emphasised the requirement for Dental Nurse support for all clinicians, as per the GDC Standards for the Dental Team. It positions the BSHDT very firmly in the debate, taking the opportunity to encourage action on this very important topic.

The BSDHT takes the needs, concerns and challenges faced by its members very seriously and will do everything in its power to ignite change and improve the working environment for all Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists in the UK. The Society has written to an array of professional organisations and associations to seek their support in the fight to provide the necessary support for Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists in practice.

If you would like more information, or you’d like to get involved, please contact the BSDHT today.

For more information about the BSDHT, please visit www.bsdht.org.uk

call 01788 575050 or email enquiries@bsdht.org.uk

Melanie Pomphrett joins Smile Revolution Podcast to talk about transferrable skills for her peers

Melanie Pomphrett qualified in 2015 after studying at the University of Essex and became a dental nurse. Oral hygiene soon became her passion, so, when a year on, the prospect to study for a Masters in Advanced and Specialist Healthcare (Dental Professional Practice) it was too exciting opportunity to turn down. It was reasonably priced course and she could still work full time to fund it since most of the educational sessions were run at weekends.

During a podcast conversation on Smile Revolution, Melanie discusses what the Masters has given her three years down the line, with podcast host Victoria Wilson. She also talks about how important it is to seize as many opportunities as possible to be able to give yourself the flexibility of a different career pathway.

As she explains: “I had no idea where this Masters was going to take me, I had no idea what I was going to be doing in a few years’ time but I knew it was important not to shut any doors. The Masters does not tie me into clinical – it will hopefully open up some doors – and that was my thought process at the time and I think it has paid off. Having a Masters is not going to mean you can start doing more things in practice, but it means that if you want to do something outside of practice, or if you want to really push for something, your voice is a little bit louder if you done further training.”

Melanie goes on to describe the findings of her dissertation about Direct Access, and how she is hoping that her research is going to help her peers achieve prescribing rights.

Throughout the podcast, it becomes evident that Melanie’s passion is not only for oral hygiene and research, but also her desire to instil confidence in her peers, to let them realise – if they have not already – that the work options are endless if they just want to apply themselves and look out for opportunities. She says that if she has been able to achieve so much in such a short time, so can they too! She also talks through the whole cycle of team collaboration and the benefits of it.

Melanie chats about the Dental Nurse Network and how her skills were utilised as a tutor and writing CPD content; how she was also asked to put together online oral health education course for dental nurses, develop tutorials and even a course work book which students could work through.

One element that Melanie expands on is how some course content she worked on includes community work with projects extending to care homes, children centres and scout clubs, which she thoroughly describes as an exciting way of trying to promote oral health not only in surgery and practice but into communities.

She adds: “It is not until you step out of the surgery that you realise that there are people out there, groups – especially vulnerable groups – that just have very little to no awareness about how to maintain their oral health. Sometimes we can look through rose tinted glasses because we see patients who come and see us and can pay and have their treatment done but there is a huge group out there who don’t, and nurses and hygienists are definitely the best people who can help them. I wish I could do a lot more of it. If anyone is interested in oral health promotion, there are jobs out there and they are so rewarding I would recommend them to anybody”.

Melanie also described her work with Philips Oral Healthcare, how she always aspired to work for the company because she loved its products, and how, as a professional educator, she is now able to educate and support her peers with lunch and learn in practices, one to ones with hygienists, nurses and dentists, as well as her work with the BSDHT.

“As hygienists and therapists, we have the theory behind everything, but also the practical side of thing and our dexterity skills. The transferrable skills have become very handy in all the other roles I have done too – the empathy we have for our patients. When I go to a practice now and speak to the teams there, because I have come from a clinical background there is a bit of relatability there because people understand I have come from that background myself. It definitely helps.”

Melanie explains in this podcast how she speaks with a many hygienists who are interested in exploring different avenues but don’t know where to start. She speaks of the trials and errors and about confidence to reach the stage she has and believes it all about believing in yourself. About giving it a go. 5 years from now, Melanie hopes to continue working for Philips Oral Healthcare and continue seeing her patients in practice. She is encouraging her peers to find what works for them.

She concludes: “There are so many opportunities. Find out what other things interest us. We are all brilliant in surgery and we all know we can do our jobs brilliantly. But there are other things out there that hygienists and therapists the can do, contribute to writing, creating content, raising awareness for the public and people who wouldn’t necessarily come through our doors on a day to day basis. Now is the perfect opportunity to explore these avenues because some of us have a bit more time to spare”

For more information about the podcast, visit: www.smile-revolution.net/call-to-action

For more information on Philips Oral Healthcare, visit www.philips.co.uk/dentalprofessional