Soon after, I came across the Swiss Dental Academy’s Guided Biofilm Therapy (GBT) protocol which enhanced and gave substance to the transition I was making. I was given the opportunity to travel to the EMS head office in Nyon, Switzerland to learn the theory and evidence behind the protocol as well as be introduced to the technology in their new AIRFLOW® Prophylaxis Master unit that was being launched. At the end of the course, I knew that this was what I was looking for and I was eager to return to my practice to implement my new found knowledge.
However, to fully embrace this move, it had to be a full team approach. I needed to convince my dentist and other hygienists to also firstly adopt this protocol and secondly, to incorporate an AIRFLOW® unit into our practice.
Asking my dentist to invest in our hygiene department by purchasing the unit required some investigation and planning. This wasn’t a standard “it’s been 18 months and we need new scalers” request nor asking purely for a financial sum, but rather for an entire practice of 7 practitioners and 9 support staff of nurses, front office co-ordinators and management team to incorporate a change of mind set from what we know as ‘conventional prophylaxis’ to a minimally invasive way to manage biofilm and its effective removal.
I was initially met with some resistance and uncertainty from my team when I broached the subject but after being given the opportunity to present GBT to the entire team and aligning the protocol with the benefits I was experiencing, they were willing to undertake a change in routine by following the GBT protocol and pre-polishing their patients with a standard, slow speed hand piece. They soon began to experience some of the benefits that I was experiencing since implementing GBT however, we still needed to improve on the method of removing biofilm both supra and sub-gingivally safely and effectively around not just natural tooth structures but also around implants, crowns and bridges and orthodontic brackets with which traditional polishing just wasn’t as effecacious.
We invited an EMS educator to our practice for an in-house demonstration of the AIRFLOW® Master unit where practitioners had a chance to be both patient and practitioner and experience GBT utilising AIRFLOW® technology. After having the opportunity to perform a full appointment with the unit, the hygienists were on board with my new found enthusiasm and agreed that this was something we needed in our practice.
I presented a business plan to my dentist and office manager who, recognizing my new-found energy with GBT, replied to my request to invest in the hygiene department with an AIRFLOW® Master unit by saying If I was asking for something of this magnitude, he trusted that I would make it work.
Introducing the AIRFLOW® into the appointment was equable as I had already begun ‘conditioning’ my patients to GBT but was replacing the pre-polishing with air polishing. I expanded my explanation of the unit to include how the unit works in the most minimally invasive way to remove biofilm both above and below the gumline more effectively, efficiently and comfortably than I have been able to with traditional methods.
At the end of the appointment, I always seek feedback and the overwhelming majority of patients comment that their appointment was much more comfortable, their teeth feel great and many saying “That’s it? Wow!” My initial concerns about my patients’ reaction to change were alleviated and I reminded myself that it is us as professionals who condition our patients to expect the treatment they receive. By providing a brief explanation at the beginning of the appointment as to why I have chosen to practice GBT and including them in the process, they have all to date been happy with the implementation.