Variety is the Spice of life

Millie Bevan discussing Oral-B with Scary SpiceMillie Bevan explains how empowering your patients fuels their success.

Millie Bevan may have been out of university for just four years, but her passion for her role is unstoppable. From scooping an outstanding student award to lecturing the next generation, from treating Scary Spice to calming the real fears of patients, Millie evidently knows what she really, really wants.

Indeed, the enthusiastic Instagrammer is the epitome of ‘girl power’. She raises the bar wherever she can as well as lifting others. Not only setting the pace for her colleagues but she is generous enough to share what drives her. Millie is a powerhouse of enthusiasm that delivers on many levels. In her clinical care, her teaching and her strong messaging on social media.

Qualifying as a dental hygienist and therapist at the University of Manchester in 2016 with a BSc in oral health science remains her proudest professional moment to date. Seemingly a triumph over adversity. Her positive attitude earned her not only a degree, but recognition as a high-achieving student, too.

Proving the doubters wrong

Millie explains: ‘To this day, my most important professional achievement would have to be graduating from Manchester Dental School. Many of my teachers doubted my capabilities but, despite the challenges, I stuck through it. To have graduated from one of the best dental schools in the UK was the ultimate “I told you so”.’

On qualifying, she scooped an Outstanding Student Award from the British Association of Dental Therapy. Once again proving wrong the doubters. She now lectures newly-qualified hygienists and therapists.

She says: ‘It is fun to meet newly qualified DH&Ts and to offer advice and shed some positivity on the profession. I’m not long out of their shoes so it’s great to see how far I have come. I get requests to shadow me in the practice, which is really flattering and I have been able to offer that. It is hugely beneficial to newly qualified DH&Ts – this is what helped me most – and a nice way to share what I am doing in real-time.’

‘Variety is the spice of life’

Millie is much in demand clinically, too. This takes her to what she describes as ‘four amazing practices’ across London:

  • Freshdental, Monik Vasant’s clinic in the heart of the capital in Bloomsbury’s Russell Square
  • Pond Square Dental, a boutique practice in north London’s fashionable Highgate
  • Platinum Dental Care in Canary Wharf’s West India Quay
  • SW1 Dental Studio in Westminster.

These different locations inevitably bring a variety of clientele. Millie says: ‘Variety is the spice of life. I love knowing I am going to be somewhere different every day. It’s easy to fall into the trap of a work “treadmill” and this is my way to ensure that doesn’t happen. In Westminster, our patients range from MPs and Lords to celebrities (treating Mel B in the chair was definitely one of life’s memorable moments), so there is a lot of variety in the conversations I have in surgery with my patients.

‘I really enjoy going to work at the practice in Highgate, as I find the surroundings so beautiful and really peaceful. I also love Canary Wharf, especially in the summer when there is such a buzz.

‘In terms of work, I get to do a lot of restorative treatment in the practices in Highgate and Russell Square, which is sometimes a nice break from hygiene. I used to work in one practice for the full week but much prefer dotting from place to place. It is so refreshing.’

She adds: ‘I’m really lucky as I get to work with clinicians with high accolades. Dr Monik Vasant and Dr Rhona Eskander have been great mentors. They are at the top of their game, so it’s really inspiring.’

Tailoring regimes for patients

With a passion for periodontic treatment, Millie says it came to her more naturally than restorative work.

‘There is something therapeutic about carrying out periodontal treatment. The best part is actually making a difference. We often see the big smile transformations with orthodontics, bonding and veneers but the impact we can have on someone’s life by stabilising their periodontal condition and preserving their teeth is incredible.’

She is a strong believer in creating a tailored maintenance regime to support patients on their own paths to success.

‘It’s incredibly important and integral in achieving success with a patient. The sooner the patient has the right regime, the better. As clinicians, we shouldn’t underestimate the time spent showing patients at-home care. While it can be hard to implement, it’s rewarding once you have the patient on board.’

Her tailored care regimes all follow similar lines. Millie explains: ‘I do this case by case, but usually it involves getting patients to use a good electric toothbrush. Often patients are using a manual toothbrush or a really old and inefficient electric toothbrush. My “go to” is the Oral-B Genius X. I also try to get all my patients using interdental cleaning aids, such as floss and/or interdental brushes. As time goes on, I may introduce single-tufted brushes or superfloss, especially if a patient has restorative work, such as crowns, bridges, implants and so on.’

Oral-B Test Drive

The challenge for Millie is to then convince patients of the value of these oral health products and view them as an investment of time, money and, ultimately, in their health.

‘Sometimes, it can take a while to reach an understanding with a patient that by solely paying and attending to their hygiene appointments, they will not necessarily reach a successful outcome. The majority of work is done in their homes with the regime I set out for them. In order to help patients comply with the regime, I email them personal oral hygiene advice after every appointment. It helps summarise what we spoke about in the appointment, ie what to buy, and how to use it. We have to remember sometimes patients may feel bombarded by information we have given them in an appointment and may not be able to take everything on board. I’ve found that patients really appreciate you going that extra mile.’

The Oral-B Test Drive has become an important tool in Millie’s efforts to ensure patients buy into the long-term investment. It also helps patients learn perfect brushing techniques, trying the product before investing in the technology.

Millie explains: ‘In so many cases, using the demo model has identified people who have been struggling with the correct technique when brushing. This, coupled with a plaque-identifying agent, really helps patient understand and, ultimately, encourages home compliance. I also really love how quick and easy it is to set up within surgery.’

She also recommends using Oral-B Pro-Expert toothpaste to her patients – especially her periodontal patients because ‘thanks to its stabilised stannous fluoride formula, it provides all-round protection’.

Debunking the myths

She believes the best way to support her messages and engage with patients further is to jump on social media and get posting.

Millie explains: ‘It’s nice for our patients to see us doing something other than just teeth. For me, it’s been great during lockdown to see people baking, running and doing Tiktok videos – and I’m sure the patients are enjoying it too.

‘In terms of educating people, social media gives people a chance to obtain accurate information from credible sources. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about dental care. So by engaging with people on these platforms, we can also debunk the myths.’

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