How mentoring has helped Dental Hygienist Anne Powders bring her toothbrushing and handwashing project in disadvantaged communities closer to reality

It was little Masiko who sat on the old wooden bench in the mud-walled classroom with her eyes fixed in a steady gaze as she watched me show the children how to brush. It was her tattered princess dress, her hair decorated with colourful beads, her curious soft eyes that instantly triggered that set of emotions I will never forget. It is that sense of achievement that you have made a difference to them which gives me desire to do more for the children every time, and when you leave, you excitedly plan that next trip because you know it will be so rewarding and so valuable.

My name is Anne Powders and I am a dental hygienist working in the UK. I grew up in India and my passion for the East is as strong as ever. I have volunteered and travelled with the charity Dentaid to encourage improved oral health in disadvantaged communities in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Uganda and Morocco.

As a dental community, our work is so important, not only for the oral health promotion but for the general health and wellbeing of people. Three quarters of the world’s children suffer the pain of tooth decay and WHO recognises it as a pandemic. Oral diseases affect nearly 3.5 billion people and more than 530 million children suffer dental caries in primary dentition. We clearly have a lot to do.

I am excited to be involved in a new project for Uganda, a low-income sub-Saharan country with widespread poverty. The dentist to population ratio is 1: 158,000 – 39% of whom are based in the capital Kampala. Oral health services are considered a low priority and the population experience an uneven distribution in Uganda. Yet tooth decay and pain disrupts and restricts attendance at school, with a study showing that toothbrushing alone can reduce absenteeism by 27%.

At times I have felt completely overwhelmed by the extent of dental need in young children. There is so much pain, pain from the rampant caries and baby-bottle tooth decay. Chewing on sugar cane, pacified by the sweet sugar syrups and drinking Cola all contribute to the extensive carious lesions in so many young children’s mouths. Volunteering is exhilarating, challenging, overwhelming, desperate.

Teams of Dentaid volunteers give their time, energy and money to work hard in dental clinics in rural Uganda each year. The focus is on acute pain relief as well as on prevention and oral health education. They work with a small team of local dentists and health assistants to make this possible, and at the end of the challenging day move on to another desperate community.

What if we could design and help implement a dental health project that could be run and supported locally? What if we could create a project that was sustainable, that the local health workers could own as theirs? What if we could target young children in the primary schools and support them with daily toothbrushing and handwashing in a preventative way? I had so many ideas but was struggling as to how to implement them. Thankfully Victoria Wilson, hygienist and founder of the Smile Revolution platform and training courses, is helping me bring this Ugandan oral health promotion project to fruition, and I am grateful that Philips Oral Healthcare has sponsored this mentorship. I am delighted that they see the potential in me and in this vision.

Toowa in Uganda is where we are planning to run a pilot project for the preventive programme. It is an impoverished, rural, low income area, with a high proportion of women and children. We want to empower people to improve their oral health sustainably with daily toothbrushing and handwashing education courses at the core of a programme for improved dental health and wellbeing in Toowa primary school.

Victoria helped me channel all my energy and passion into the project, taught me how to organise and target support and sponsorship, and has given me the tools to make the project a successful venture, in the hope that it can be rolled out to other primary schools in the area at a later stage once the model has been proven.

With the support of Dentaid I am producing innovative content to support toothbrushing and handwashing skills which can be taught and implemented in developing countries as well as empowering teachers and children to improve their oral health and healthy living. It is at an early stage but I am convinced that we are heading the right direction.

I want to thank you Dentaid, Victoria Wilson and Philips for giving me the means to achieve this.

Philips offers the chance to win a sponsored place on next Smile Revolution course

Victoria Wilson, Dental Therapist and creator of the Smile Revolution podcast series, is once again set to run her highly acclaimed 5-week programme entitled ‘Launch your own oral health promotional project/business’, starting on Monday 25th January.

In addition, Philips Oral Healthcare is offering one dental professional the chance to win a place on the course – worth £1,000 – as a way of reinforcing its ongoing support to Dental Professionals. To enter the competition, visit https://form.jotform.com/210077355323045.

“Staying true to my interests and aspirations as a dental professional is something that I can honestly say I have stuck to through and through,” Victoria comments. “At times it has not been easy, as I have carved an atypical career pathway, yet I continue to be true to everything that underpins me personally. In the 5 week course I deliver entitled ‘How to launch and oral health promotional project / business’, I share everything that has supported me as a professional in building my existing career pathway, for others to build additional career pathways in oral health promotion to. Philips are kindly fully funding a place on the next 5-week course starting on the 25th January.”

Some of the delegates from Victoria’s previous courses have shared their feedback to encourage their peers to sign up:

  • “Victoria seems to have this ability to unlock the door to personal and professional excellence. The course is well delivered and very interactive – she is a great mentor! I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience too.”
  • “I always look forward to the online sessions, and it is not just a matter of learning and absorbing information; I am excited to learn about the other delegates’ projects and enjoyed seeing their progress as well!”
  • “It was brilliant. Victoria makes me want to go out and achieve so much”.
  • “Informative, interactive, engaging”.

The winner of the Philips sponsored place when the course ran late last year was dental nurse Jo Dawson. Her story can be found here.

The course is designed to help dental professionals plan the launch of an oral health promotion venture.

Philips already understands that oral health promotion can take many forms and some clinicians wish to vary their working life outside of surgery. The company is therefore keen to be supporting Smile Revolution’s oral health promotion course in recognition of the way it will form a new and exciting part of a dental professional’s development.  Philips see this as a huge opportunity for dentists, hygienists and therapists to increase their skills, with the ultimate aim of improving the public’s oral health, by developing innovative outreach projects.  By becoming more versatile, and exploring and uncovering other opportunities the clinician has the potential of making an impact beyond the traditional clinical setting.

Victoria Wilson commented: “Philips has already supported us on numerous occasions. From the very beginning, the company has been so invested in dental professionals’ education and it is reassuring that decades later, the company is still providing an amazing level of support. I am so grateful that the company believes in my vision and can see the potential impact of this course for dental professionals. It is hugely encouraging.  Members of the Philips education team recently appeared on a podcast on Smile Revolution highlighting the need to develop transferrable skills and how important it is to seize as many opportunities as possible to be able to give yourself the flexibility of a different career pathway. They spoke of the trials and errors they may have to go through, and about confidence to get to the stage they have now reached, and this message is exactly what I am trying to convey in this course”.

What will I learn as a part of this course?

Over a 5-week period, delegates will be set specific tasks to work towards, and they will be asked to put together a viable sustainable business module drawing on the elements which they will have discussed throughout the course. At the end of the five weeks, they will have learnt how to create a business proposal and will be ready to launch their project. A mentoring element will also be added at the end of the 5 weeks, again as part of the Philips sponsorship package.

Delegates’ projects could be anything they wish it to be. There may be an opportunity to develop a project under the umbrella of the dental practice, with the dentist and practice owner collaborating, if they want to come on board.  Alternatively, it could be a scheme within their community using the clinic at the hub.  Or it could be a totally separate venture outside the clinical setting. The sky is the limit as to the number of opportunities to uncover, and maybe it is about unleashing the potential of delegates who may not have the confidence to take that leap of faith. The Smile Revolution course is designed to empower individuals and help them find new solutions to excel in existing areas and new ones.

Competition and prize

To enter the competition, visit https://form.jotform.com/210077355323045
 
 
Victoria is also running a Q&A Zoom session on Wednesday 20th at 7pm if you would like to find out more about the course. Register for the Zoom by completing your details here: https://dentalpathway.hubspotpagebuilder.com/smile-revolution-victoria-wilson

Dental Nurse Jo Dawson wins Philips-sponsored place on Smile Revolution course

Philips Oral Healthcare recently offered one dental professional the chance to win a sponsored place on the second of Smile Revolution’s 5-week course to ‘Launch Your Own Oral Health Promotional Project/Business’. The place was won by Jo Dawson, a Dental Nurse who works at Devonshire House Dental Practice, Cambridge.

The course is designed to help dental professionals plan the launch of an oral health promotion venture; Philips sponsored the place – worth £1,000 – as a way of reinforcing its ongoing support to dental professionals.

The Smile Revolution’s mission of the course is to drive leadership in dentistry through innovation in oral health promotion.  As Victoria Wilson, creator of Smile Revolution, explained “Philips has already supported us on numerous occasions; from the very beginning, the company has been so invested in dental professionals’ education and it is reassuring that decades later, Philips is still providing an amazing level of support.  I am so grateful that the company believes in my vision and can see the potential impact of this course for dental professionals and the publics oral health.  It is hugely encouraging.”

Victoria Wilson

Over a five-week period, those attending the course are set specific tasks to work towards and are asked to put together a viable, sustainable oral health promotional project / business model, drawing on elements discussed throughout the programme.  At the end of the five weeks, the hope is that they will have learnt the tools of how to create a viable, sustainable oral health promotional project / business proposal and moving towards launching their project.   As part of Philips’ ongoing sponsorship a mentoring element is also added for the winner to help them continue to take their project forward at the end of the five weeks.

Projects can be anything participants wish them to be. There may be an opportunity to develop a venture under the umbrella of a dental practice, with the collaboration and support of the dentists or practice owner.  Alternatively, it could be a scheme within the community, using the clinic as the hub. Or it could be a totally separate venture outside the clinical setting. The sky is the limit as to the number of opportunities to uncover, and it is also about unleashing the potential of delegates who may not have had the confidence to take that leap of faith before the programme. The Smile Revolution course is designed to empower individuals and help them find solutions to excel in existing and new one arenas.

The idea for the course took shape at the start of the Covid pandemic.  As the pandemic began to take over, it became so apparent that clinicians were no longer able to work clinically and as a result the public’s oral health was suffering,” Victoria recalled. “At this point, I had been running the Smile Revolution for two years and felt now was the time to share everything I knew to support others in launching sustainable oral health projects as I have.”

“I began to collate the most relevant resources that have supported the developments of the Smile Revolution over the last five years. I consolidated them into a course and launched the five-week programme, How To Launch An Oral Health Promotion Project/Business.  The aim was to teach the students everything I know and have learnt in the process of creating the Smile Revolution, to support their individual development in their own projects that they uncover throughout the process. I further support the students with mentoring during the five weeks additional to the set webinar settings based on the need. The course consists of a one-hour, live webinar every Monday and a online classroom every Sunday. An integral element of the course supports innovation and leadership in dentistry.   It has been so gratifying to see such a wide range of projects evolving from the course.”

Jo Dawson, the recipient of the second Philips sponsored place said, “I was delighted to find out that I had won a place on the course.  I am passionate about preventing caries but stuck about how to have the greatest impact in addressing the problem.  It breaks my heart to think about kids having fillings let alone GAs.  I wanted to raise awareness of how easy it is to prevent tooth decay in particular, and for example, to stop parents giving out raisins as snacks to primary school children – as a starting point.  I’ve been trying to make a change on my own, but thought this input and support could really help me make things happen.  I’ve been doing online business webinars and Dental CPD but nothing that overlapped that could support taking things forward.  I want to thank Philips for its generous sponsorship.”

After attending the first digital course session and being set my homework for the week, I already started to feel excited and curious as to where this journey would take me.  The 1st webinar was surprising, inspiring and uplifting. The content is nothing like any other dental CPD or business course I’ve ever seen. It was quite a revelation and could well be the beginning of a revolution.  The messages installed in me from the first lesson was, don’t give up! We all have a valuable contribution to make and we can find our niche.  Have confidence. Using our own personal inspirations and working honestly about our motivations we can develop ideas to create sustainable and viable projects that will succeed, as well as being personally rewarding.  The whole inspiration side of things makes so much sense.  I’ve really had a mind blast and lots of ideas are flowing around. Looking at things differently and limitlessly, which has been a revelation and very positive.  It has given me some new areas to explore and some old contacts remembered who I can reconnect with in a new way.  

To all dental professionals. Although I’m sure, half the reason there is still a problem with caries and gum disease globally is because the profession is so busy doing dentistry, and we haven’t all got time or energy to expand beyond our busy practice day list.  This course also helps to focus on life-balancing too – with the opportunity to experience yoga as part of this.”

Discussing her own inspiration – for the creation of the – Smile Revolution, Victoria explained: “In 2015, I completed my BSc in oral health promotion with O’Hehir University and in 2017, I was invited to a social responsibility conference held by the International Federation of Dental Hygienists, showcasing sustainable oral health promotional projects around the world. They called on all representatives from varying nations to lead on social responsibility in our retrospective countries. At the time I was in the UAE but soon returned to the UK where the concept of the Smile Revolution evolved.

“The Smile Revolution focussed on supporting leadership in dentistry from the outset, from showcasing dental professionals via the Smile Revolution Podcast series. The philosophy behind the podcast is based on sharing knowledge to support the advancement of all dental professionals. The next step has been to launch the courses.  New course dates are to be announced for 2021 which will also be supported by Philips, as the company is funding further sponsored places to ensure that cost is no barrier to entry for those who would like to further their ambitions.”

For more information, visit http://www.smile-revolution.net/.

Smile Revolution looks to spread some happy vibes with latest campaign

#Sunglassesandmoresmiles is a campaign created to promote healthy smiles during winter lockdown!

Poor oral health can impact our quality of life. Dental caries is preventable. It is time to stop a preventable disease from impacting our quality of life. If you want to champion taking control of your oral health and others. Celebrate with us and join the Smile Revolution campaign.

Who should join the campaign?
Everyone who believes in the value of a healthy smile? Join the campaign and promote healthy smiles.

The importance of oral health has a different meaning for all of us.

Let’s come together and spread some cheer! Let’s end this year and celebrate with #sunglassesandmoresmiles!

Call to action!
Take a selfie smiling wearing sunglasses, spread the happiness . Smiles can change the world.

For Instagram tag @mysmilerevolution

https://www.instagram.com/mysmilerevolution/

For Facebook tag @smilerevolutioncampaign

https://www.facebook.com/smilerevolutioncampaign

Share it across social media and don’t forget… #sunglassesandmoresmiles

All campaigners stand the chance to win giveaways announced every week.

Smile Revolution campaigners! What to do next?
Get connected with other campaigners!

Public – Get connected with your dental practice, find out what more you can do to maintain a healthy smile, or simply reach out to dental professionals on social media and ask them.

Dental profession – use the campaign to spread the happiness of a healthy smile, and tips on maintaining a healthy smile.

For more information, visit: http://www.smile-revolution.net/sunglassessmilescampaign/

Philips offers the chance to win a sponsored place on Smile Revolution’s 5-week course

Thanks to the success of her first course, Dental Therapist and creator of the Smile Revolution podcast series, Victoria Wilson is launching a second five-week programme entitled ‘Launch your own oral health promotional project/business’ which starts on Monday 9th November.

Some of the delegates from the first 5-week course, which has just concluded, have shared their feedback to encourage their peers to sign up:

  • “Victoria seems to have this ability to unlock the door to personal and professional excellence. The course is well delivered and very interactive – she is a great mentor! I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience too.”
  • “I always look forward to the online sessions, and it is not just a matter of learning and absorbing information; I am excited to learn about the other delegates’ projects and enjoyed seeing their progress as well!”
  • “It was brilliant. Victoria makes me want to go out and achieve so much”.
  • “Informative, interactive, engaging”.

The course is designed to help dental professionals plan the launch of an oral health promotion venture. Philips Oral Healthcare is offering one dental professional the chance to win a place on the course – worth £1,000 – as a way of reinforcing its ongoing support to Dental Professionals.

Philips already understands that oral health promotion can take many forms and some clinicians wish to vary their working life outside of surgery. The company is therefore keen to be supporting Smile Revolution’s oral health promotion course in recognition of the way it will form a new and exciting part of a dental professional’s development.  Philips see this as a huge opportunity for dentists, hygienists and therapists to increase their skills, with the ultimate aim of improving the public’s oral health, by developing innovative outreach projects. By becoming more versatile, and exploring and uncovering other opportunities the clinician has the potential of making an impact beyond the traditional clinical setting.

Victoria Wilson commented: “Philips has already supported us on numerous occasions. From the very beginning, the company has been so invested in dental professionals’ education and it is reassuring that decades later, the company is still providing an amazing level of support. I am so grateful that the company believes in my vision and can see the potential impact of this course for dental professionals. It is hugely encouraging.  Members of the Philips education team recently appeared on a podcast on Smile Revolution highlighting the need to develop transferrable skills and how important it is to seize as many opportunities as possible to be able to give yourself the flexibility of a different career pathway. They spoke of the trials and errors they may have to go through, and about confidence to get to the stage they have now reached, and this message is exactly what I am trying to convey in this course”.

What will I learn as a part of this course?

Over a 5-week period, delegates will be set specific tasks to work towards, and they will be asked to put together a viable sustainable business module drawing on the elements which they will have discussed throughout the course. At the end of the five weeks, they will have learnt how to create a business proposal and will be ready to launch their project. A mentoring element will also be added at the end of the 5 weeks, again as part of the Philips sponsorship package.

Delegates’ projects could be anything they wish it to be. There may be an opportunity to develop a project under the umbrella of the dental practice, with the dentist and practice owner collaborating, if they want to come on board.  Alternatively, it could be a scheme within their community using the clinic at the hub.  Or it could be a totally separate venture outside the clinical setting. The sky is the limit as to the number of opportunities to uncover, and maybe it is about unleashing the potential of delegates who may not have the confidence to take that leap of faith. The Smile Revolution course is designed to empower individuals and help them find new solutions to excel in existing areas and new ones.

Competition and prize

ENTER HERE – https://form.jotform.com/203063413664045

Anyone wishing to go on this course can enter this competition and stands a chance of winning a sponsored place worth £1,000, courtesy of Philips. Entrants can enter here, https://form.jotform.com/203063413664045 stating why they would like to win a place on the course, and where they would like to see this course taking them. A draw will be organised at the end of the week and the winner will be announced on the same day.

For more information about the course and competition entry criteria, please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/launch-an-oral-health-promotion-project-business-5-week-course-tickets-107758117430

Victoria Wilson hosting 5-week course on how to launch a sustainable oral health promotional project

Dental Therapist and creator of the Smile Revolution podcast series, Victoria Wilson, has developed a new course, supported by Philips, to help dental professionals learn the steps needed to launch a sustainable oral health promotional project in 5 weeks, and the confidence to start a new venture they have mapped out. The five-week course starts from Monday 24th August 2020.

“As a dental profession we continue to treat the most prevalent preventative disease globally,” explained Victoria. “We have so many amazing clinicians, but are limited in our reach through clinical work alone, staying in clinic and this is exactly why Smile Revolution is running the course, to give clinicians insight into opportunities they can explore and develop.

“More recently we are witnessing a very different landscape where many dental professionals are feeling more insecure, worried and vulnerable. I know many hygienists and therapists who have experienced real financial, mental health and professional challenges, and this really urged me to create this course for the profession.”

The course is designed to help dentists, DH&Ts and nurses explore how they can expand their horizons. At the end of the five weeks, participants will have learnt how to create a business proposal and will be ready to launch their project.

“Everyone has aspirations and ideas, and I want to help them ‘think outside the box’, use their working environment and their skillset to allow them to flourish,” Victoria continues. “It is not easy to work on your own so working collaboratively on the course to develop the right business skills should make a tangible difference. To enable delegates to reach this stage, they will be set specific tasks to work towards, and they will be asked to put together a viable sustainable business module with the elements which we will have discussed throughout the weeks.

“For delegates who still wish to be further supported and mentored following the course, I will be there for them to continue to move the project forward. I feel it is my duty as a dental professional to help my peers and I am committed throughout this journey. I want them to run a project that is viable, sustainable and has a measurable impact on oral health.”

The first four people to register for the course will receive a £700 discount. In addition, because Philips understands the need for resources for health promotion, the company is offering all registrants a resource kit which includes a Sonicare ProtectiveClean 4300, practice posters, recommender pads, clinical study information and patient information leaflets.

For more information about the course, please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/launch-an-oral-health-promotion-project-business-5-week-course-tickets-107758117430.

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

Megan Fairhall encourages her peers to take risks during Smile Revolution podcast appearance

Ten years ago, Megan Fairhall qualified from the University of Portsmouth with a degree in dental hygiene and dental therapy. She went straight into private practice, predominantly carrying out hygiene work. Pretty soon Megan started to feel a little bit frustrated by the monotony of her day job, and wanted more from her career.

Five years later, Megan started developing her brand #Livetosmile brand. As she explains in a podcast interview with Victoria Wilson:

“I saw that social media was transforming a lot of industries and at that point not a lot of people in dentistry were utilising these channels. So I started building my own brand and talking about tooth whitening and cleaning treatments, so that patients could contact me directly and come to the practice to see me, which meant I no longer had to purely rely on referrals from the practice I was already working at”.

When developing the plans for her campaign Megan wanted to create a lifestyle brand which was more relatable to the millennial generation. Her idea was to help inspire people from her generation to consider the aesthetic and health benefits of treatments in a positive light and as a sought after and desirable part of a health and beauty routine.

“Social media helped break down barriers within dentistry – this was always my aim. It has encouraged people to book appointments directly with me and has had a huge impact on my career path”.

Megan commented that creating her brand needed a lot of thought and research. “A brand is an extension of yourself and reflects who you are as a person. I loved the process and it gave me a new passion for branding and marketing. So I am a hygienist, but this does not mean I am confined in dentistry. My scope as a professional has been broadened by the different avenues I have undertaken. Admittedly it is difficult to let go and trust somebody else with your brand when you need to get help. If you are just outsourcing creative work, the best thing to do is look for reviews and get recommendations, and again social media is an ideal platform to exchange good contacts!”

Nowadays, according to Megan, it is a lot easier to create your own website and there are also different apps which you can use create content. It has democratised dental hygiene and allowed whoever wishes to go on a different journey to do so without fear of being judged. Putting yourself out there means that you think your content is relevant and has a value, and so long as you feel it is going to make a difference, this is what ultimately matters.

“I am trying to help the public and make an impact on their oral hygiene. If I can spread a positive message and that one post is making a difference to even one person then it is worth doing. It is all about having the right mind-set. Ultimately if you don’t try what seems a good idea for you, you are going to be frustrated and have regrets, so just give it a go”.

Megan also told Victoria during the podcast that “The dental beauty box I recently launched is my pride and joy. Coming from the dental industry, I wanted to combine dentistry and beauty to make it a bit more desirable. Patients may find it overwhelming to go down the dental oral hygiene aisle in the chemist, with so many different products to choose from, they trust my professional recommendations instead and I have included beauty and wellness products in the box too to make it more aspirational. This collaboration of beauty, dentistry and wellness makes me feel as if I have hit the jackpot, with the belief that I can have a positive impact on people’s lives on so many levels, is definitely thrilling”.

“With social media, you can only feel more connected, compared with years ago. There are forums, Instagram, smaller online groups, so social media has opened up new doors, which is particularly important for the profession, as it can really be a lonely place when confined to the surgery on your own. So when you then go to conferences or events, you will be able to recognise people and their faces – even though you have never met them, that’s the power of social media!”

“For me social media has been much more than a means to connect with people. Social media has made me stand out from my peers and given me incredible career prospects. Philips (Zoom whitening and Sonicare) and Unilever (Regenerate) approached me having seen what I was doing with my outreach to patients. That was the start of so many amazing opportunities working with those brands and being involved in things I would have never dreamt of when I was in university. I am also very proactive in my role with them now and I will reach out to them if I feel there is a good opportunity presenting itself”.

“Every hygienist and therapist is unique. Everyone has something to offer and unique selling points that make them special. So with determination and hard work, everything is possible. Just figure out what makes you different, and what you are passionate about, and reach out to people and give it your best shot”.

“Beside my patients, it was important to me to also help other hygienists and therapists. I had found that whitening had become a huge part of my treatment focus, and I wanted to share that passion with my peers. So Philips and I put together a series of whitening courses to show hygienists and therapists that there is something beyond back to back cleaning appointments. Whitening is within our scope of practice, albeit under a prescription. My reward is when hygienists and therapists walk out of my courses and start working on a marketing plan, on social media and implement what has been explained during these courses. Zoom take home whitening demonstrations also help giving my course delegates confidence to make a start with whitening. I run about ten courses a year and locations are generally London, Manchester and Leicester although we can discuss locations wherever

someone has a need. However, with lockdown limiting our travel opportunities at present I am launching online training courses too”.

There have been times in my career where dentists in the practice were receptive to my ideas. Other times, less so. But if you have a vision or a dream, you need to find people who will help you and allow you to make your ideas a reality. Let’s not forget how lucky we are to be able to always go back to the practice for your clinical work which gives you that security. So take big leaps if you have to, as you only have a few chances in life. Find your passion, be confident in everything you do and be fearless”.

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