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News / January 26, 2011

How to make perio profitable

by Guy Hiscott

Professor Philip Preshaw, Dr Amarjit Gill and Shaun Howe took ‘professional and profitable perio’ as their theme and spelled out the clinical, financial and medico-legal implications of treating periodontal disease.   

The meeting, which was devised and organised by Philips Sonicare, was backed by the British Dental Association in Northern Ireland and took place in the unusual setting of the Ulster Museum in Belfast on 14 January. 

Professor Preshaw, who is professor of periodontology and consultant in restorative dentistry at Newcastle University, described the latest techniques for the effective management of periodontal disease from a clinical perspective.

He also covered: how to diagnose periodontal disease; the risk factors and systemic implications of the condition; and its impact on patients. He outlined exactly when and how to refer to a specialist; how to treat inflammation; and how to help patients manage their disease in practice.

Finally, he stressed the importance of treatment adherence and compliance between practice visits so that patients’ overall management is as effective as possible. 

He was followed by Dr Amarjit Gill, chief dental advisor to Philips, who looked at periodontal disease from a practice and business perspective. He explained how practitioners could implement simple and effective ways of diagnosing the disease and then deal with it. He also stressed the importance of pricing these services fairly so that they were profitable to the practice.   

‘Perio, probes and probity’ was the topic addressed by the third speaker, Shaun Howe RDH, who is one of three dental care professional advisors for Dental Protection.  

Shaun explained how not using the correct probing tools and techniques could come back and haunt practitioners at a later date, and he stressed the importance of getting it right first time and every time. He also outlined the medico-legal implications of not managing the disease and how important it is to protect one’s professional integrity and reputation against legal charges by failing to spot and treat periodontal disease. 

In the following hands-on session, delegates were given an opportunity to put their learning into practice when they were shown the ‘which, why, and when of probing’, covering which probe to use, where and how to use it.

The benefits of ultrasonic instruments for treating patients were demonstrated and the day concluded with each delegate being shown how to use a sonic toothbrush as part of the treatment regime – to their surprise they were each then presented with their own top of the range Sonicare FlexCare+ by Philips.  

Commenting after the event, one of the delegates, Dr Winifred P McLaughlin, said: ‘Thank you so much for co-ordinating such a great course – I found it invaluable in many ways. The quality was excellent and the venue was such a lovely setting.  The Philips’ sponsorship was so generous and I certainly wasn’t expecting a FlexCare+.  I enjoyed the whole day’.

Delegate Ciara Gallagher added: ‘The venue was very comfortable, the course content was informative, relevant and enjoyable, and to receive a great new toothbrush to top it all was the icing on the cake.’