How this practice is making prevention a priority [VIDEO]

Dental Products ReportDental Products Report-2013-07-01
Issue 7

For the team at Marietta Smiles, prevention is key to providing optimal care. They want to provide the best customer service and patient experience possible while the patient is in the office, but for optimal results, they know that care has to continue once the patient is home. 3M ESPE preventive products help them offer that level of care, in the practice and beyond.

For the team at Marietta Smiles, prevention is key to providing optimal care. They want to provide the best customer service and patient experience possible while the patient is in the office, but for optimal results, they know that care has to continue once the patient is home.

3M ESPE preventive products help them offer that level of care, in the practice and beyond.

Every patient who walks in to Marietta Smiles is treated like a house guest.

They’re never left waiting wondering what to do next, or wondering what their treatment options are. The team makes sure they’re comfortable from the time they walk in to the practice until they leave.

The reception area is warm and welcoming, and the private operatories are equipped with comfortable patient seating, TVs and the most up-to-date technology proven to improve patient care-all the little extras that help patients relax during their appointment time.

These elements are critical to providing the best patient care possible, which is what matters most to Dr. Julian Campbell, Dr. Tony Nunez and the team at Marietta Smiles.

The atmosphere and technology help patients feel more comfortable, which in turn makes them more likely to come back for routine preventive recall appointments as well as for any necessary or elective work. The products they offer, from the high tech to the preventive, reflect the practice’s philosophy, which centers on prevention, top notch customer service and high-quality dental care that extends beyond the appointment time.

A new partnership

In 2005, Dr. Nunez was looking to grow his solo practice and Dr. Campbell was searching for a new partner, someone who could work more hours than his current partner and who shared his same philosophy of care.

That’s why Drs. Campbell and Nunez merged practices, creating an office that offered six operatories and a level of service patients couldn’t help but appreciate.

By 2008 they needed more space and appointment times for their 5,000 patients, and decided it was time to move their growing practice to a bigger office. This gave them the opportunity to not only expand their practice, but to customize their 10 operatories to highlight their technology-including CAD/CAM, digital impressions and digital x-rays-as well as to design the office in a way to make their patients feel as comfortable as possible.

Catching problems before they happen

Between the two of them, there’s always a dentist available to see patients, whether it’s during an emergency situation or a routine, prevention-focused appointment. Both doctors realize dentistry isn’t all reactionary and ensure preventive care is a top priority.

“We try to intercept problems with our patients,” Dr. Nunez said. “Not only react to the problems that they’re having but we try to make recommendations that will benefit them in preventing problems we foresee for them in the future. Problems with gingivitis becoming periodontitis, early carious lesions becoming bigger cavities and becoming a bigger problem. We try to recommend products or dispense products that will help prevent future problems.”

Both doctors and the team have a great synergy, Dr. Campbell said, which is so important in a multi- doctor practice. Patients have noticed and rewarded them with loyalty as well as referrals.

“The practice is growing. It’s thriving. We have a lot of patients from every walk of life,” Dr. Campbell said. “We see kids as young as 2 and adults as old as 98. We don’t really try to focus on one type of patient. We just believe in taking care of whoever will allow us to take care of them. ”

Products matter

All that comes into play when it’s time to make a product decision for the practice. Drs. Campbell and Nunez spend time researching a product, talking to colleagues and reading journals, before they make a move. They also consider staff input and know how important it is for team members to be on board with any new product decisions.

And, of course, they want to know what the patients think.

“The patient benefits always comes first and foremost,” Dr. Nunez said. “Is this something that will make our patients more comfortable, let us treat them more effectively and in less time. And then of course we look at the financial aspects. ROI. The things you have to look at. But the goal is first to look at a product and see how it benefits our patients, their experience and their health.”

The right varnish

All those factors went into choosing a varnish. The hygienists at Marietta Smiles use 3M ESPE’s Vanish™ 5% Sodium Fluoride White Varnish. Nancy DeMott, RDH, and the two other hygienists have tried many different fluoride treatments over the

years, but find that Vanish varnish works the best for their patients.

“The application process is simple and the flavors are good. We use Vanish varnish exclusively now,” she said. “We also use it with perio patients, anybody with sensitivity or root exposure.”

Dr. Nunez finds Vanish varnish superior to the foam gels they’ve used in the past, and likes the fact that it gives patients a higher dosage of fluoride.

“Vanish varnish has been really great because it’s very easy for the hygienist to apply it and it’s very quick for the patients so they don’t have to sit for a long time like with the fluoride foam. They’d have to sit for a minute or so with this uncomfortable foam in their mouth,” Dr. Nunez said.

“Now, we can apply the varnish very quickly and that varnish stays on the teeth longer. It releases fluoride longer so it’s helping the patient in that way. They’re getting that extra fluoride dosage for a longer period of time.”

The varnish also contains Tri-Calcium phosphate and gives sustained release of fluoride and calcium that keeps the teeth from having problems down the road, Dr. Campbell said, such as a cavity forming around the root surface from lack of proper mineralization or under dental restorations. It has the ability to penetrate difficult to reach surfaces and provides a sustained defense.

“We apply the Vanish varnish to the teeth at their recalls. When they come in for their cleanings and we don’t see the cavity, that’s a big success for our practice,” he said. “The best dentistry is no dentistry. We believe in preventive dentistry such as using this at their typical recall visits and then allowing patients to see their x-rays and to see that the little dark spot that was once a small cavity has been remineralized and no longer needs further intervention such as a filling.”

The importance of home care

Patient care doesn’t end after the appointment is over; home care is just as important to keep patients in optimal health.

DeMott began giving 3M ESPE’s Clinpro™ 5000 1.1% Sodium Fluoride Anti-Cavity Toothpaste as part of a home care kit for patients with periodontal disease.

She wanted to include something simple that wouldn’t add to the patients’ home care regimen, because she knows extra steps makes it less likely for patients to comply. So patients get the varnish in the practice, and continue treatment at home with Clinpro 5000 toothpaste- products Dr. Nunez describes as the two most important in their practice for prevention.

“The fluoride in the toothpaste also helps them with the sensitivity they’re experiencing because of recession,” he said.

“We decided to increase the implementation of the toothpaste with our patients who had moderate to high risk for dental caries and we’re finding that we’re getting good results with remineralization of smaller carious lesions. We’re seeing remineralization or arresting of those lesions over a period of time.”

Patients love it

Patients are much more likely to comply with Clinpro 5000 toothpaste than anything DeMott has used before, and that’s getting them the results they need to improve their oral health. Patients use it as their toothpaste, so they don’t have to add a step to their home care routine, it tastes great and it delivers results. Once patients see those results, they want to use it even more and even ask DeMott about stocking up during their appointments.

“Clinpro 5000 toothpaste helps with our treatment of periodontal disease, caries, and malocclusion factors like abfractions and gingival recession resulting in sensitivity,” she said.

“We need help when we’re working with patients. We can fix things all day long but if they’re not doing things at home to protect it, it doesn’t matter. They can put thousands of dollars into their mouth but if they don’t take care of it it’s going to fail. That’s why we try to give them a tool to continue that home care part of it along with what we do in the office.”

Make the investment

The team at Marietta Smiles has come to trust 3M ESPE and use many of the company’s products throughout the practice, including the PerioMed™ 0.63% Stannous Fluoride Oral Rinse and the Just for Kids™ 0.4% Stannous Fluoride Brush-on Gel for children at high risk for caries.

3M ESPE products help them provide the type of care their patients deserve, and fits in perfectly with their philosophy of care that focuses on prevention and high-quality customer service.

“Any practice that incorporates these products is going to see better results clinically. Hygienists are going to enjoy using the varnish application technique and seeing the results they get and patients are going to appreciate the extra care that they’ll get by using Clinpro 5000 toothpaste at home,” Dr. Nunez said.

“They’ll appreciate the fact that we are caring beyond the appointment. We want them to know that we’re invested in good results for them clinically. We want them to share in the process at home. We’re caring for them beyond the appointment and ultimately want to improve their health long term.”

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