So from your own experience of having a therapist in your practice, what are the advantages for you, your team and your patients would you say? As practice owners we ultimately want the best patient care, you know, for the people that attend our practices. And when I set out to understand what the skill set was, what the scope of practice was, what services that therapist hygienists therapists could offer. I thought, well, this is an opportunity to bring a new individual with this skill set into practice, and let’s see how it influences patient management, and I’ve never looked back. It’s been a very positive experience, not just for the patients but myself and my team.
Have any of your therapists and I know you’ve had a few in the past and helped to grow your practice as such? Oh absolutely, absolutely. So my personal view is that therapists themselves are like perio specialists in itself because they have a better and a deeper understanding of how to manage patients who present with periodontal problems.
And so I used to examine the patient, do the diagnosis, carry any investigations that were necessary, but also had the therapist with me at the same time so they could be part of that patient journey. And then I would introduce the patient to the therapist and explain what their role is, what aspects of the treatment would be delegated to the therapist. Obviously, I would oversee the overall management. Yeah, because that’s my responsibility, but the therapist in effect would be my right hand person and in managing the patient care and the patients just loved it because it almost elevated their status to a VIP status.
They’re… really have been, you know, special care and attention has been provided with an excellent skill set, not just from the the dentist but also a hygienist therapist who brings their own set of skills. But the added advantage is obviously with therapists, because they can do routine dentistry, restorative dentistry, and that is an excellent feature that you have introduced because where practitioners are concentrating on the more complex side of the work.
For example, you know indirects you know root canal treatment, denture work you know that allows the dentist to focus on that and delegate the sort of the restorative work, the perio work to the therapist. So overall it’s an amazing set of patient management and it grows confidence for the new therapist coming out to dental school, because when they’re exposed to these different types of treatment under the right mentorship, under the right guidance, proper supportive infrastructure, these therapists will flourish.
If a dentist you know is considering taking a therapist on and hasn’t had one before and has some concerns about potentially cost effectiveness or their abilities, etc. What would you say to that dentist? I, I… It’s a funny question really, it’s in the sense that I’ve had a lot of colleagues who have approached me asking that same question. You know, how has a therapist influenced your practice? What difference have they made?
It’s, it’s something I’m considering. There’s always going to be a degree of apprehension. With all dentists who are considering this and I think it’s one of those that first of all, you need to talk to colleagues who have been in that situation and have been fortunate to have that experience to bring a foundation therapist hygienist into the practice.
Those that have been involved with foundation training in dentistry, this is to be honest with you no different, because you’re mentoring you’re guiding a new individual, you’ll be sitting down doing tutorials with them. You’ll be doing hands on tutorials, will be overseeing their work, you’ll be looking at their record keeping. You’ll be doing role playing communication as well. So I think the important thing is to speak to colleagues who have been involved, first of all, and secondly perhaps go and visit a practice where you, you’ve got colleagues who employed therapists and just observe how they do things, how they interact with patients.
Look at their skill set and scope of practice and then say let’s have a go at this. I’ve got a fair idea from my colleagues and I understand what the programme is all about and like myself, It’s one of those that once you get involved, you never look back. So, would you say that getting involved with foundation therapy would be a good start for someone to introduce a pat.. a therapist sorry to their practice? Oh, absolutely 100% and the reason again I say that is because I’ve been very blessed.
Yeah, and again, because patients are used to that concept, that journey that they go through, the delegation from a dentist to the actual therapist itself, they’re familiar with that and they’re comfortable with that and part of patient therapy is reassurance as well.