How to make perio profitable

How can periodontal disease be profitable to a practice?

This was just one of the conundrums addressed by a trio of speakers during a day-long workshop for dental professionals in Northern Ireland.

Professor Philip Preshaw, Dr Amarjit Gill and Shaun Howe took as their theme ‘Professional and Profitable Perio’ 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; as well as 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 DCP advisors for Dental Protection Limited and who sat on the GDC Fitness to Practice Panel from 2003 to 2008.

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 an ensuing 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. 

Patricia Rawsthorne, professional relations manager for Philips, said: ‘We have been so delighted with the response to the ‘Professional and profitable perio’ event that we are running it again in Glasgow on 1 June at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons to enable dental professionals from Scotland to benefit in the same way as their colleagues from Northern Ireland were able to do.

‘Philips is making it a policy to extend its educational programme, using first rate speakers, to areas often not well served with high quality dental CPD courses.’   
Anyone interested in attending ‘Professional and profitable perio’ can find out more and book their place by visiting  The event costs £74.38 (dentist) and £65.63 (DCP) and like the Belfast meeting includes a free top of the range FlexCare+ sonic toothbrush as well as lunch and refreshments. For more information about Sonicare toothbrushes visit

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