Making Every Contact Count

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Dr Ben Atkins and dental hygienist Anna Middleton discuss the importance of engaging with the patients’ mind

Award winning dentist Dr Ben Atkins (top) works in Salford as Clinical Director of Revive Dental. He knows he works in an area of dental need, if not crisis, and wants to practice life-changing dentistry. To do this he needs to help his patients understand their own mouths better.

He does this in two ways; first he feels it is important for his patients to believe that he understands their mouths and can help them take better control of their oral health. This means discussing their specific needs and addressing those needs in a bespoke fashion his patients can understand.

Second, he introduces them to the most effective tooth brushing regime he knows. He has given out Philips Sonicare toothbrushes to the homeless and most vulnerable people he meets, after first showing them the correct way to use them.

A man recently freed from prison wept when he was shown how to clean his teeth properly for the first time in his life. This was just one example of the way Dr Atkins has helped people “engage” with their mouths and gain a better understanding of the road towards better oral health.

The proof is in his practice records. He points out that 80% of his patients are on two-yearly recalls, a fact he credits to engaging his patients and making them responsible for their own oral health regime – allied with Philips Sonicare and the effectiveness of its power brushes.

Speaking during the launch announcement of the new Sonicare ProtectiveClean range Dr Atkins admitted that the biggest problem for NHS dentistry is in allocating sufficient time to the patients’ minds as well as their mouths.

“The trick we miss,” he said, “is in bringing the patient themselves into the skill mix as part of the dental team, and they are the most important part. If a patient can’t engage with their own oral health we are almost wasting our time trying to patch up the mess they are making of their mouths.

“Prevention is the answer to the current NHS dental dilemma, and it starts when people accept the importance of brushing twice a day for two minutes each time; and learn how to use their brushes more effectively. I’m a strong believer in ‘MECC’, which means when I’m dealing with patients I make every contact count.

“Philips Sonicare technology is part of a process that engages and focuses the person's mind towards a better, healthier, tooth brushing regime. I’m a lazy dentist, I want less to do when someone sits in my chair, so thank-you Philips for helping me achieve my aim.”

Left to right, Philip’s Hetty Couzens and Jess Hulme with hygienist Anna Middleton

Leading London-based hygienist Anna Middleton agrees. Her research and feedback from her patients about the new brushes also highlighted the importance of people liking the product and the sense of cleanliness it provides.

“Brits are becoming more body conscious,’ she explains. “They want to look better and feel better about themselves. The rise in elective procedures such as tooth whitening and orthodontics for adults is just one facet of this change, better oral health awareness is also a factor.

“By trialling the new Sonicare ProtectiveClean brushes with a group of patients I have seen how the right brush – and the right supportive technology – can literally become a stimulus for change.

“Thanks to the Philips app and reactive sensors built into the new Sonicare brush, people are brushing better and discovering the difference it makes. They are reporting their teeth feel cleaner than with any other brush they’ve used. They describe it as a deep and thorough clean with a smooth sensation that lasts all day.”

Anna concluded: “They also like the brush’s ease of access to posterior teeth, and its gentleness when dealing with bridges, crowns and dental restorations. People like to feel that things are more personal to them these days, and Philips has devised a brush that offers a bespoke service that feels tailored especially to their needs.

“And don’t forget, the importance of good oral health to overall systemic health is well documented. The correct brushing regime with the right brush is about so much more than fresher breath and whiter teeth, it may also help save your life in the future.”

To find out more about Philips Sonicare visit http://www.philips.co.uk/sonicare