Gwynnifer Henning – Passionate Paediatrics

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Winner of this Year’s DCby1 Award: Gwynnifer Henning

Urchfont Dental Care has always been passionate about improving oral health in children. This dates back to when the owner of the practice, Gwynnifer Henning (above, left, with CDO for England Sara Hurley) was at dental school. She was shocked by how many children’s teeth were extracted under general anaesthetic (GA), and the resulting pain and emotional trauma they experienced.

This led to her life-long passion to improve the oral health not only of the children in her practice, but in the surrounding community as well. This passion is shared by all the staff at the practice, who whole-heartedly support the desire to get as many of the children they treat into adulthood without a single cavity.

Last year, the practice referred only one child for possible extractions under GA, a marked improvement on previous years. Her passion has won her practice this year's BSPD supported, NASDAL DCby1 Award. This is Gwynnifer’s winning entry...

UDC has actively supported NASDAL DCby1 since learning of it in early 2019, but has embodied the core concepts for many years. In addition to the local area, the practice has expanded its campaign into surrounding towns and villages in an effort to ensure the initiative's message reaches as far as possible.

Urchfont Dental Care provides expectant mothers with an introduction pack containing information on oral care for babies and children. This pack includes information about diet and brushing, when to first see the dentist, and a children’s book published by the practice entitled Visiting the Dentist.

New parents are also encouraged to bring their children in prior to their first appointment to help them acclimatise to the environment. The practice has worked hard to ensure that it provides a welcoming and fun atmosphere for children by creating an area of the waiting room that includes a large playhouse filled with toys, books, and a games tablet.

This zone has proved extremely popular and the children often linger following their appointments to continue playing. We encourage parents with very young children to pop in whenever they like for a play or a read of the many books about visiting the dentist. so that children really look forward to visiting the dentist.

In order to improve awareness of hidden sugar content in drinks, the practice has made a ‘sugar board’ which has proven very popular with children and adults alike. Children of all ages are given brushing charts which they can return to the practice once completed to receive a prize toy. The practice also offers free plaque disclosing and oral health education sessions for any member of the public, which are run by our trained nurses.

In accordance with the NICE guidelines, children are offered fluoride varnish during every examination, and the practice has been commended by the NHS for being well above the national average for children’s fluoride application.

In order to bring the NASDAL DCby1 campaign into the wider community the practice has encouraged parents to bring their children to the practice through the distribution of posters in local centres, which have responded positively to this message.

These centres include local GP practices, the local NHS treatment centre (Care UK), the local maternity unit, children’s centre, library, local schools, and softplay/activity centres. The library, maternity unit, children’s centre and schools have also been given copies of the practice-produced book to help provide prospective new patients with an idea of what to expect when visiting the dentist.

For the last 10 years the principle dentist has visited baby and toddler groups in the area to provide them with oral health and diet information, as well as encourage the parents to register their children with a dentist from a young age.

In addition, the practice regularly invites local schools and nurseries to attend educational sessions that provide oral hygiene and diet advice. These are particularly beneficial to children who may not otherwise see a dentist. The children are also given goodie bags containing toothbrushes, disclosing tablets, a small toy, and information leaflets for their parents.

Since actively promoting the NASDAL DCby1 campaign, Urchfont Dental Care has seen an increase of 17% in new patients aged three and under, and a 33% increase in new patients aged five and under (20% of our 139 new patients Jan-Aug this year), compared to the same period of the previous year.

Clearly, the NASDAL DCby1 campaign has been very effective, not only in helping children in our local communities but also in helping our practice to grow and we will continue to drive this campaign forward into the future.