For all of the changes Dr Malcolm Duff of Face Value Dental has seen in his past 40 years in dentistry, there are two that stand out. One has been the exponential growth in technology, backed by both scientific and digital progress. The other related change has been a greater focus on patients—on their comfort, and on listening to what they want from their dentist.
“Over the years we've found the most important thing of all is to listen to people,” he says. “If you don't listen, you can't respond and you can't give people what they're looking for.
“We like to spend the time to get to know our patients in the first visit, so it's a longer consultation appointment than most practices do. We don't believe that the dentist should be trying to meet the patient, clean their teeth, and take the X-rays, and have them out in 30 to 40 minutes. That just doesn't work. We want to get to know our patients, find out what they really want to achieve, first of all, and then work towards a common goal.”
The latest example of technology meeting patient comfort is EMS Airflow© biofilm therapy, which Face Value Dental is rolling out across all five of their clinics. “It’s a revolutionary new way of looking at an old problem, which is how to remove plaque and calculus in the mouth,” Dr Duff explains.
Previously, your visit to the hygienist for a scale and clean involved the use of ultrasonics—a process that involves using a very fast vibrating tip to remove calculus from the side of the teeth. It’s effective, Dr Duff says, but brutal.
“People who have sensitive teeth do not like an ultrasonic against the side of their tooth, because it's painful. There's no two ways about it.”
However, the new guided EMS Airflow© biofilm technology uses a very light, almost non-abrasive but very effective powder delivered through compressed air and warm water which removes virtually all of the stains and the soft calculus from the teeth.
“Before we start, we paint a solution onto the teeth which contains a dye that is picked up by the plaque in the mouth,” says Dr Duff. “That means we can see instantly whether there's fresh plaque or older plaque there, because it comes up a different colour. We use the EMS Airflow© biofilm technology to gently get rid of that soft plaque.
“After cleaning off most of the plaque, there may still be some calculus left. Calculus is mineralised plaque. That has to be removed physically from the teeth. But we'll now only have to use the ultrasonics for last residual pieces. So it's more efficient and less painful and most people find it a much more pleasant experience.”
Dr Duff says the technology is very safe. The powders are non-abrasive and don’t damage the teeth or the gums.
Learning new technology and techniques is what has always driven Dr Duff and the Face Value Dental Group. “I'm grateful that I feel like I can still learn something new most weeks, even after all this time,” he says. “And if you're not learning, you're not thinking about what you're doing, and you're not improving what you can offer.”
That passion for dentistry is what he looks for in his associates and hygienists—so even if a patient isn’t seeing Dr Duff himself, they can be confident their dentist shares his values.
“There is a rigorous selection process to be accepted here,” he explains. “We are a big practice and we have a lot of people keen to work with us, which is a great advantage. I'm confident our dentists have up-to-date skills, and their empathy is good.
“The advantage of a bigger practice is that we have nine surgeons here, so at any given time there are six dentists working and three hygiene therapists. We also discuss patients between ourselves on a regular basis. That means if there's anything out of the ordinary, or even just an interesting case, we discuss them amongst ourselves. Which is a positive for everyone.”
If you're due for a dental or you want some advice about improving your oral health, contact our friendly team at Face Value Dental today and read more on our dental cleaning technology.
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