How to be a well-rounded dental professional

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  Posted by: The Probe      16th September 2021

Talking about personal well-being, behavioural change and oral health promotion

What links personal well-being, behavioural change and oral health promotion?  All are subjects which are close to the heart of Victoria Wilson which is why they are central to her lecture programme at professional dental events this Autumn/Winter season.  Philips Oral Healthcare, which has supported Victoria throughout 2020 and 2021, is sponsoring this speaker programme as part of its ongoing support to dental professionals.

The overall wellbeing of dental hygienists and therapists is of tantamount importance and delegates at Dental Partners will be privy to Victoria’s lecture on this subject on 8th December.

Victoria explains: “Wellbeing is a huge aspect that underpins every element of the work we do – and that includes our own. Very early on, I identified the challenges hygienists and therapists face in clinic with the nature of the work we physically undertake. Collectively as a profession, we are eager to go above and beyond for our patients. We are so committed and dedicated that we often end up quite exhausted, and burnout is something which is often discussed within the profession.

“We should consider ourselves lucky that a lot of work has been done to tackle the stigma associated with mental health problems and it is reassuring to see that an increasing number of people seek help when they reach that burnout threshold.  During the pandemic, many papers have been written about stress, anxiety and burnout leading to new frameworks being developed for the profession to provide clear and simple everyday guidance which promotes mental health wellness for all members of the dental team.

“Every one of us should be accountably making actual steps forward to incorporate wellbeing in our day to day life. Awareness is one thing, but until we are actively participating in something that can benefit us, we will not make tangible progress.

“I have been supporting the wellbeing of some of my peers six times a week through yoga sessions for a year an a half now and the feedback I get is really positive. Regardless of their initial motivations to attend my classes, all individuals report an increase in wellbeing and health benefits.  I am not saying that yoga is the answer to everything – it works for many – however everyone has to find what is right for them.

“What I am trying to get across in my talks is that we all have a duty to maintain our professionalism and do whatever we can for the patients. However, that also means understanding the importance of wellbeing and accountably committing to supporting one’s own wellness, as it can only enhance our output when serving the public’s oral health. If our wellbeing is affected, then our normal output is going to be compromised.”

On 9th October, Victoria Wilson will talk at the BSDHT meeting delegates about behavioural change in oral health improvement. This is a subject which has always fascinated her and has been an area of special interest throughout her career.  As she explains: “One of the most important elements of our role at hygienists and therapists is to facilitate change within a patient’s oral health regime, and encourage a commitment to oral health improvement. To achieve this there is a need to develop a framework to support oral health modification as behavioural change underpins every element we have to consider when delivering the message to the variety of demographics we are speaking to.

The topic is covered as part of undergraduate education so although it is not new as such, the actual emphasis on behavioural change and communication as a softer skillset isn’t emphasised enough in my view. Collectively, as a dental profession, we are good communicators but it still does not guarantee behavioural change. If we look at our bleeding score results for all the patients we have seen, for example, have we successfully reduced the plaque and bleeding scores deemed to be acceptable and healthy for every patient? I can say throughout my career I have not consistently reached the plaque and bleeding scores deemed a success rate I would have liked for every patient. It comes down to the patient’s responsibility to get to these results, but we can still find more ways to get patients motivated to reduce the bleeding scores and reach a healthy zone with less risk of disease.

We have the right competencies to continue in our work to reduce dental health inequalities through the education of the importance of oral health change. We are getting somewhere – but could do better.  If you compare patients with how they were ten years ago and now, it is clear that many have changed lifestyles and their outlook on oral health. Resources that are available have multiplied and there are definitely more avenues to reach patients and deliver the right messages. More recently, I have been exploring the role that tele dentistry has in facilitating behavioural change within oral health education – and this is something I will be continuing to explore and to talk about.”

Victoria Wilson will also be talking at the BSDHT Conference on 27th November on the theme of Oral Health Promotion – Back to the future where she will look back at what has been achieved over the last years in oral health promotion and assess how the profession aligns itself with the 2021 WHO resolutions.

For more information please visit https://www.philips.co.uk/c-m-pe/dental-professionals

About Victoria Wilson

Victoria began her journey as a Dental Therapist at the Eastman Dental Hospital London in 2001, and has been totally dedicated to her profession since.

Victoria’s extensive professional experience spans over 2 continents, having worked within practice in the UK in the NHS and private sector, and the UAE private sector combined with working in the world of production television and film.

Her dental profession leads her to being the Founder of the Emirates Dental Hygienist Club and former president amongst being the Website Officer on Council for the British Association of Dental Therapists (BADT). Victoria is a member of the House of Delegates for the International Federation of Dental Hygienists (IFDH) and currently sits on the Communication and Public Relations committee for the IFDH.  She consults for Enlighten Smiles and is a KOL for Philips Oral Healthcare sonicare business and Dentsply Sirona where she delivers smart scaling courses around the UK following on from attending USTI and furthered her studies in oral health promotion in 2015.

In the world of production television and film, Victoria has produced numerous independent films, renowned television commercials and digital content.  She has starred within 2 TV series in the Middle East and was featured in Cannes short film festival in 2012.

Victoria is the founder of Smile Revolution that combines Victoria’s extensive areas of expertise that seem to be worlds apart, yet are needed to further oral health promotion to achieve oral health for all.

 

About Royal Philips

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a leading health technology company focused on improving people’s health and enabling better outcomes across the health continuum from healthy living and prevention, to diagnosis, treatment and home care. Philips leverages advanced technology and deep clinical and consumer insights to deliver integrated solutions. Headquartered in the Netherlands, the company is a leader in diagnostic imaging, image-guided therapy, patient monitoring and health informatics, as well as in consumer health and home care. Philips’ health technology portfolio generated 2016 sales of EUR 17.4 billion and employs approximately 71,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. News about Philips can be found at www.philips.com/newscenter.


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