Slow Dentistry Meeting 2019: Part Two

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Slow Dentistry Meeting 2019: Dental Review reports on patient-centric dentistry in a fast-paced world

We continue our review of the first Slow Dentistry Meeting and talk with the speakers.

Dentist Miguel Stanley, who initiated the Slow Dentistry movement, highlighted the importance of Slow Dentistry as the correct concept for today’s fast-paced world. He said: “First I would like to thank sponsors Voco for making this wonderful event a great success. And now – what is Slow Dentistry, and why do we advocate it?

“As dentists we all want to deliver the best quality patient care. I believe that the number of safety breaches could be reduced significantly if dentists had the right amount of time to deliver care. Time is crucial when gaining informed patient consent, delivering treatment, and, importantly, when preparing a safe, hygienic environment for every patient.

“We enter the profession with an aim of helping as many patients as possible, so it’s vital to make patient safety a top priority.”

Dr Marcus Engelschalk

“For me, joining the campaign was very simple and straightforward. When I introduced the Slow Dentistry ideology to my business partner, he laughed and said that I had been working like that for over twenty years. I had embraced the philosophy but nobody spoke about it. Nobody had given this concept a name.

“So, when Dr Miguel Stanley approached me about this, it was like a eureka moment. I suddenly had something to tell my patients, explain why they have to wait until the room gets ready, why we use this rubber dam, explain that we do all this for them, and that we now have a name to describe this perfect dentistry of ours. I was immediately excited and very enthusiastic about speaking.

“My presentation covered ‘Slow Dentistry and slow digital dentistry, how they work together’. The concept of ‘time’ will change with Slow Dentistry in the same way that digital dentistry has redefined it within our practice. We need more time to get better results and digital technology helps us produce a high level of dentistry in a short time period. Greater efficiency equals less time required in the dental chair.

Dr Engelschalk continued: “What do I mean by ‘Slow Dentistry’? It is about the quality of dentistry you deliver. It may actually end up being quicker for the patient with less time needed for appointments, less pain and quicker healing. It is about rethinking all areas of dentistry and taking time to be better for the benefit of your patients. In my practice, we call it slow digital dentistry.

“Dr Miguel Stanley’s 15 videos, National Geographic’s ‘The New Boundaries of Dentistry’ are all about digital dentistry and making patients’ lives better. So, I would like to emphasise that this campaign is not about practising dentistry slowly, it is about a change of mindset. Taking your time for planning means the outcome will be quicker, and, more importantly, a lot more beneficial for patients.”

Dr Rhona Eskander

“I’m thrilled to be part of such a movement. Dentists need to recognise that we are at the forefront of patient-centric dentistry. Patients are becoming more informed about what is available to them out there. The Slow Dentistry movement creates an air of safety and trust that will better serve the profession and the public.

“Dr Miguel Stanley has inspired me for years. I have watched his work and visited the famous White Clinic. His ethos is all about quality not quantity, patience not pressure, safety and skill. When he told me about the movement, I wanted to be part of it, particularly because my previous pace of dentistry was hindering my growth.

“Which was why my presentation asked, ‘What does it mean to be slow? How not being slow almost damaged my practice’. I explained why speed does not equate to success. The Slow Dentistry campaign is about doing things properly.

“The four pillars are not intended to dictate the way in which you run your practice, but act as a guide to ensure you lead a fulfilling practice and don’t cut corners. Everyone deserves proper informed consent, disinfection, pain control and rubber dam during endodontic treatment. Such things can also prevent stress and minimise mental health-related factors.

“Digital dentistry helps reduce human error and contributes to more accuracy. It requires patience and skill and helps improve the patient experience, which is key to a successful outcome. Patients value trust and quality more than cost, and they know the digital era is here. Digital provides concise, easier to process information, it does not cut corners and complements the Slow Dentistry ethos.”

Simon Chard

“Slow Dentistry is a very exciting movement. When Dr Miguel Stanley asked me to become one of the ambassadors the concept resonated with me. It is about quality and care and dedication and, although many of us have already been working at this level, the Slow Dentistry campaign takes it to a different degree and makes it easier to communicate this to our patients.

“It was a no-brainer to be part of this. It is everything I am doing already and it highlights many important factors that allow patients to differentiate dentists by the quality of care and attention they put into their work.

“My talk, ‘The digital revolution and Slow Dentistry’, is about the ways digital dentistry allows us to practice at a slower pace. One of the main cornerstones of the campaign is consent – informed consent – and using digital technology allows us to present and clarify treatment plans in a way we have never done before. 

“Advances in technology enable us to enhance the patient journey, improve predictability, and make a positive difference to the whole profession, which I am strongly advocating.  My talk also shows how I use digital technology for my cosmetic dentistry patients to help with the informed consent process.”

Simon continued: “We want to spread the message of high-quality, patient focused dentistry at the heart of the modern dental practice, and the four cornerstones that underpin the Slow Dentistry ethos. It is undoubtedly positive for everyone. 

“I want to show my peers how digital technology allows us to practice Slow Dentistry, which equates to a safer, more efficient way to provide the best quality of service to patients.”

Slow Dentistry Accreditation

Becoming a recognised Slow Dentistry practice will be a mark of high standards of care and quality dentistry. There is an accreditation process for dental practices that want to sign up.

Slow Dentistry co-founder Nina Blaettler concluded: “Dental practices need to go through careful checks to ensure they adhere to the four Slow Dentistry cornerstones. There is then an annual levy towards a fund which will be used to promote them as a Slow Dentistry practice, and to educate the public regarding the benefits of seeking out a Slow Dentistry practice.” 

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