Slow Dentistry Meeting 2019: Part One

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The first Slow Dentistry Meeting: Dental Review Reports

We asked some of the speakers at the first Slow Dentistry Meeting on the 23rd November (sponsored by Voco) for their views about the Slow Dentistry campaign and why they decided to join:

Dr Koray Feran

“It may be a cliché answer but the way we work is already adhering to the Slow Dentistry philosophy. We aim to provide the highest possible standards for the patient; it is about comfort, peace of mind, a safe environment. That fits into everything we do on a day-to-day basis.

“And if you are asking me about other practices, I am not sure that they are not following the same kind of standards, but maybe they don’t put as much emphasis on it. Clearly, we don’t advertise the way we work to patients and don’t spend time explaining how we run the practice and what is going on in the background for everything to function as it should.

“And actually, patients should be fully informed, we should explain to them how long it takes to do dentistry properly. Leaving them in the dark is wrong.”

Dr Feran’s presentation during the meeting was entitled “Slow Dentistry requires Slow Thought Khanemann style”. He explained: “I’m quoting Daniel Khanemann, a Cognitive Therapist known for his bestseller ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’. His book reveals how our minds utilise two fundamentally different modes of thoughts when making choices: fast, intuitive thinking, and slow, rational thinking. the ‘dual-process’ model of the brain.

“What I am trying to say is that our first judgments may not be the correct ones and in dentistry, it often isn’t. Getting to the truth requires time. Lots of people get in hot water because they think fast. The answer is to think slow to be able to work fast. Slow Dentistry is encouraging dentists not to think on the hoof leading to more efficient dentistry – and that means not following your instincts but rather thinking rationally.

“It is like a long chess game rather than a sprint. Dentists need to make a plan, process all the information when the patient is not there yet. I have always been doing Slow Dentistry without knowing it and I would hope that all dentists would want the best for their patients. Now there is a name for what we were already doing, and it is truly exciting”.

Jameel Gardee

“I think the Slow Dentistry campaign is an important and timely initiative from the point of view of both the dentist and the patient. There is a recent study in the BDJ about stress levels and mental health amongst dentists today. One of the findings from it was that apart from stress management at a personal level, changing working practices and the way that we deliver our dentistry is really important.

Inculcating Slow Dentistry principles allows us to focus on the wellbeing of the patient. It gives dentists more time to do the dentistry they want to do, dentistry the patient deserves, while also hopefully reducing the stress levels the dentists are under. That’s one aspect.

“A more important aspect is in my view that we do everything we possibly can for the benefit of the patient. Delivering the best treatment for the patient does not necessarily correlate to how quickly you do it. So, what we really want to do is give the patient the ability to look for some specific criteria when looking for a dentist.

“And these aren’t comprehensive criteria that cover every aspect of dentistry but these would be cornerstones they can look out when searching for a dentist. Patients should be reassured that the dentist is really focusing on their wellbeing rather than focusing on the business or the number of patients they can get through.”

Jameel continued: “My ethos since I qualified was really to practice dentistry as closely as possible to the gold standard and that meant spending more time with my patients. I appreciate it is not for everyone. Some practices want to see lots of patients per day but I never wanted to do that.

“There are separate business models for dentists. Some of them run like corporates to make sure that they are well funded and are getting a good return from dentistry. Some practices are independent but focus on high volumes of patients and doing things very quickly. Then for some other practices, the business model is about the art of dentistry and the science behind it and dentists take their time to follow all the full protocols, steps and procedures”.

“I kind of felt I was in the latter group of people and want to take my time to do dentistry in the best way I could. When the concept of Slow Dentistry was introduced, I felt it could benefit a lot of dentists as a way to show their patients that they were committed to world-class care. So that’s why I signed up.

“Dr Miguel Stanley (above) the brains behind this movement up, along with Nina Blaettler who runs Slow Dentistry, are really charismatic and forward-thinking individuals who are genuinely looking to try and shape dentistry for the better so that patients are the primary focus. Miguel Stanley is a great dentist and it is a pleasure to be involved in such a campaign”.

He explained his topic: “My subject? ‘It’s all about the patient’. Patients are put off by three things when going to the dentist. Local anaesthesia or the injection, impressions which makes them feel like they are choking, and the sound of the drill.

“With respect to the latter, there isn’t much that you can do about it, apart from playing nice music and allowing patients to listen to what they want through headphones. Obviously to do that, it takes a bit more time to select the music and put earphones on, so it is not conducive to high volume turnover with patients coming every 10 to 15 minutes”.

“Patients hate traditional impressions but we can take digital impressions very quickly, and the patient does not feel like they are gagging. It saves a lot of time and that means we can focus on other, more important aspects of dentistry and help treatments go a lot more smoothly”.

“Digital technology saves time and with that extra time we can explain to the patient thoroughly and exactly what we are going to do and get consent for every single procedure and place rubber dam where appropriate like RCTs.

“If you see a patient very quickly, how can you be sure that the anaesthesia has worked? It takes two to three minutes for it to kick in fully, so you need to give enough time. And Slow Dentistry dentists are all about giving that time to their patients.

“It is very easy for people to get involved and sign up with the Slow Dentistry movement. Dentists are awarded membership as long as they pass the basic criteria. We are thankfully moving away from the pre-conception that dentistry is about making a lot of money and seeing as many patients as possible in the shortest possible time. Instead, we want to highlight that it is all about the patient and about providing the best treatment that they deserve.

“I want dentists to understand my journey in dentistry and explain to them that trying to deliver excellence takes time. Rushing will lead to mistakes. Taking your time will benefit both dentist and patient in the long term.

“Our practice is an award-winning, fully digital clinic and official Digital Smile Design one as well. Utilising digital technology makes us more accurate, more efficient, more predictable and allows us to spend more time with patients. All these things are better for the patient, who gets looked after properly thanks to our implementation of all the proper procedures.

“Specifically, by implementing the cornerstones of Slow Dentistry, we also deliver gold standard dentistry. For some faster may mean cutting corners, but through Slow Dentistry we are challenging this, and performing dentistry the way it should be done, ideally to the best of our abilities.

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Next: In Part Two we hear from Dr Marcus Engelschalk, Simon Chard, and Rhona Eskander