Articles, Dentistry

Putting health at the heart of your practice

When I first heard this book was coming my way I was quite excited. I have been a big fan of Sheila’s approach to dental practice, and having heard her on many occasions talking about different things, I was excited to see it all joined up and put into one place. I read it front to back without putting it down, and for those who know the lady, you’ll hear her voice in your head as you read it. I haven’t decided yet if it is down to the honest way the book is written, or a clever trick that she has pulled out from under her psychologist’s hat.

Back to basics

Described recently as ‘the dentist whisperer’, Sheila’s approach is very much back to basics, stripping away all the paraphernalia that we as clinical technicians favour nowadays, and drilling down to what is most important to our patients. We can be as skilled as we can be, but our patients have not got the technical skills to judge us on this. Through her 25 years of experience and research, conducted through patient feedback questionnaires, Sheila has teased out what is important to patients. And it will come as no surprise that it is the very basics of oral health, healthy teeth and gums, that comes very high up in a patient’s expectations of their dental care. And she has the figures to back this up.

Throughout this book, she strips everything back to basics, to the bread and butter of our profession, the promotion of health and wellbeing. Sheila makes it clear, it is that simple.

The book is split into 11 very concise chapters, each selecting a different aspect of health focus for the patient, moving away from the ‘check-up’, the creation of the dental health check and on right through to an emphasis on the importance of being seen to be clean.

There is a bit of fun around the ‘theatre of practice’ and how and what our patients should be aware of to enhance, not only their experience, but also their trust, the number one expectation from patients.

Sheila guides you through the hygiene protocol, also a real practice builder. The importance of patients’ own oral health routine is paramount, and the hygiene protocol builds that with the patient.

The underlying tone throughout this book for me was, ‘I know that, but I just maybe need to formalise it a bit so that the patient knows I know’, if that makes sense. It’s making a big thing about the little things, and to patients, it is obvious from the numbers that these things do matter.

Improving you

Some may say this book is only applicable to private practice. I would disagree and suggest it’s applicable to every practice, and if followed and adapted suitably will make your practice a success. It clearly demonstrates that by explaining and promoting dental health to patients it can, not only improve your practice, but also you. Too much nowadays, more than ever, do we get bogged down in technology and we are missing a trick here.

I recommend every dental professional should have this book, read it and start to re-connect with your patients, show them just how much you care. It, as an ethos, should underpin every practice. And, as Sheila says: ‘You only get the patients you deserve.’

Putting health at the heart of your practice is available from www.sheila-scott.co.uk or www.amazon.co.uk. Published by Dental Protection Ltd, DPL Xtra members will receive a free copy in the post soon.

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