Dr Ben Atkins, owner and clinical director of Revive Dental Care, relates how he came to the decision to review and standardise the endodontic offering across his practice group.
The root of the problem
I am an advocate of prevention rather than cure. I work with patients to help them to understand their mouths, and the benefits of preventive regimes and treatments and it is vital that my team understands what patients want and also what they need. It is equally important that the patients appreciate the different options open to them and can make informed decisions about their treatment.
There continues to be a real dichotomy between the clinical and the business aspects of dentistry. It is important that a business performs efficiently and effectively, which often means that it acts uniformly. Sometimes this can be seen as being at odds with the needs of the patient, and this can lead to conflict. However, when it works well, practice uniformity dovetails perfectly with a cost-effective solution that also provides clinical benefits to the patient.
One solution that ticked both the clinical and business box for me was endodontics. Personally, I have worked as a restorative DwSI (dentist with special interest) and often received endodontic referrals, which in my opinion were part of general practice. From a business perspective, I was not convinced that Revive were carrying out enough endodontic treatments, nor were we doing them as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Back to basics
The first thing I did was to identify the current state of endodontic provision across my practice group and carried out a review, which revealed some surprising results.
One of the most important findings was the amount of equipment that had been bought over the years and never used. Other specific discoveries included one associate who did not undertake any endodontic work, preferring to extract or refer to a specialist instead, while another asserted that she could pretty much root-fill any tooth for her NHS patients. It also became obvious that there was a lack of confidence amongst some dentists in their ability to carry out endodontic treatment and this was leading to high levels of stress.
This situation was leading to a loss of revenue, with cases being referred to specialists, but I believed that with the right training these could be carried out in the practices. At the other end of the spectrum were the cases where the cost of treatment exceeded the amount we were able to claim back from the NHS.
It became obvious that a single solution was needed to introduce a level of standardisation. I also required a reputable supplier that could provide everything, including appropriate training, and one with an understanding of what we wanted to achieve.
Choosing the right supplier
Personally, I am a patient-led dentist; patients’ oral education is critical, so that they can take responsibility for their dentition. They do not understand terms such as bond strength and cavo-surface angle, so I need support in educating them. The team at Dentsply Sirona understood this, they listened and provided my team with exactly what we asked for in the shape of Waveone Gold. This proved an ideal solution to our needs and with the help of an excellent education programme aimed at the whole team, the clinicians were guided through the use and application of the system. This training helped them be more confident in recommending endodontics and then carrying out the treatment themselves rather than referring. The additional support in the form of products, consumables and an app, which we received from Dentsply Sirona, has improved both the techniques used within the practice and the efficiency of my business.
Find out how Dentsply Sirona helped Dr Ben Atkins introduce improved rotary endodontic therapy into his practices using a defined roadmap tailored to him in ‘At the endo the day – part two’ coming soon…
You can also access a range of education resources, video tutorials, courses and CPD webinars at dentsplysirona.com/ukeducation.
Earn Dentsply Sirona Rewards on all your endodontic solution purchases at dentsplysirona.com.