Deb Pratt, RDH – Golden Bay, New Zealand
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A team building retreat at Deb’s first dental practice in Vermont, USA in 1992. Deb is second from the left.

After immigrating to New Zealand in 2004, I was ready to settle back into dental hygiene practise. My first surgery in Picton came equipped with an old, Parkell magentostrictive ultrasonic scaler and a standard slow-speed handpiece for a rubber cup and pumice polishing. This was a step backward from the start of my dental career in 1987.  In my surgery back home in Rutland, Vermont (USA), each hygiene room had a combined air polisher (utilizing a sodium bicarbonate powder) and magnetostrictive ultrasonic in benchtop unit.  May I just mention how much I missed that unit at that time? 

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Deb at her first New Zealand Dental Surgery in 2005.

It was 2006, at a trade show in Auckland when shopping for an upgrade, that I met Nathan Giess, General Manager of EMS Oceania, who introduced me to EMS’ AIRFLOW® and PIEZON® technology.  I admit to listening dubiously, as I had always been a Cavitron girl. Back then, EMS offered a range of tasty Classic powders, as well as Soft powder and Perio powder for sub and supragingival polishing.  Subgingival polishing? That was new.  After hearing an explanation of what I had been missing, I was quickly sold and returned home full of excitement, hoping to convince the periodontists I worked with of the benefits ­and to purchase a unit for me! 

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The AIRFLOW® handpiece is able to remove Biofilm in the sulcus and shallow pockets up to 4mm.

Helen and Angela, at Nelson Periodontics, agreed to host an in-house demo and training session for my local branch of the NZ Dental Hygiene Association; Nathan brought an AIRFLOW MASTER PIEZON® for us to try.  We invited two clients for a free session each, looking for real feedback.  Needless to say, both clients and practitioners were sold.  Yippee, the journey began!  I was now among a handful of clinicians in the country using this state-of-the-art technology.

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Both patients & practitioners were sold on the AIRFLOW® technology.

Over the years, I’ve acquired numerous happy clients; the technology has allowed me to work more efficiently and gently.  Highlights for me include the introduction of the PS tip, No Pain technology, a refined Classic to Comfort Powder, thinner and more flexible PERIOFLOW® tips, and warm water with the newly launched AIRFLOW Prophylaxis Master®; however, it is the AIRFLOW® PLUS Powder that is truly revolutionary.  I take pride in explaining to my clients a description of the powder, the hardness factor compared to both pumice and enamel, and the cutting edge technology involved.

I have always believed in keeping my clients comfortable, even if it means knowingly leaving calculus behind.  If we hurt or scare our clients away, we have done more harm than good, no matter how many hard deposits we removed or how much healthier we think they will be.  There is a softer side that needs to be brought to the forefront of modern dental care.  The old adage, “no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care,” holds true.  

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GUIDED BIOFILM THERAPY ‘GBT’ is the game changer in that it enables us to let our clients become part of a process of co-discovery within their mouth.  There is no denying the presence of biofilm and its acidity when it can be seen clearly.  Until our clients take ownership for their disease, they won’t be ready to make the changes needed to facilitate their wellbeing.  GBT allows us as practitioners to deliver a comfortable and clinically excellent treatment by ensuring the complete removal of all biofilm; my clients leave feeling motivated and healthier, and eager to share their experience with friends and family.   

In 2014, I had the honour of being invited to EMS headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, where I was trained to instruct for the Swiss Dental Academy.  My continued learning with EMS has made me a better hygienist that enabled me to provide a more comfortable, thorough, and positive dental experience for my clients.  I look forward to another decade or two of practise and am excited to be able to share my passion for dental hygiene with both clients and colleagues.Thank you, EMS, for striving to develop innovative new technology, backed by scientific data and the precision of Swiss engineering. I’m happily anticipating what will be the next ‘game changer’ on the horizon. 

I do believe one of the harshest sounds on this earth is the screeching sound coming from the surgery of a dentist who is hurried or not properly trained to use the PIEZON® unit in the room. Come on, my dentist friends, you know you have other things to do; that is what we hygienists are here for.  Let us do your ‘dirty’ work ­ we love it.  Provide us with the time, tools, and resources we need to empower and enable our clients to heal themselves; then watch our practises grow and our world become healthier.  I Feel Good. 

Deb pratt
About Deb Pratt:

Deb earned an Associate of Science degree at the University of Vermont's School of Dental Hygiene (USA) and became a registered dental hygienist in 1995. With a strong foundation of team based dentistry and the new client experience, she has worked in various dental support roles since 1987.

Immigrating to New Zealand in 2004, she has continued to practise dental hygiene in a small number of general and periodontal surgeries throughout the country. In 2014, Deb attended EMS’ Swiss Dental Academy Training Course in Nyon, Switzerland, and is now a Guided Biofilm Therapy trainer based in New Zealand. With a true passion for clinical dental hygiene, she thrives on providing clients with a positive dental experience