Tuesday, 27 February, 2024

01 May 2005 | Australasian Dental Practice

news > Spectrum > Page 44

Attendance up for second hygienist workshop

Smile Dental's second dental hygienist workshop was held at the Townsville practice in April. Conducted in a new, purpose-built training facility at Smile Dental, the two-day workshop attracted delegates from South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

Entitled Develop the Hygienist, Develop the Practice, the workshop seeks to bridge the gap between the dental hygienist's training and the realities of working alongside a dentist in the real world. From the dentist's or practice manager's perspective, it also seeks to optimise the role of the dental hygienist in the practice.

The only training seminar of its kind in Australia, the workshop is prepared and presented by Laurelyn Higgins, a dental hygienist and certified trainer with 35 years' experience in Canada, Germany, England, Bermuda and Australia. Ms Higgins has worked with Smile Dental since the practice began in 1998.

According to Ms Higgins, the hygienist has the potential to play a key role in the dental practice. "The dental hygienist is an income-generating specialist clinician," she said. "She not only pays her own way, but also paves the way for a more successful dental practice. She's the head of hygiene and continuing care. She's the frontline of patient relations. She plays a key role in treatment promotion. And of course she frees the dentist to concentrate on dentistry."

Ms Higgins says the dental hygiene workshop is designed to help practices to tap into that potential. "The workshop aims to maximise the hygiene department and staff support to deliver the ultimate service and care for patients, and build the practice's productivity and profitability. Our 'graduates' take away new philosophies and ways of working that they can implement as a team straight away.

"The workshop recognises the importance of staff commitment and involvement in the philosophies of preventive dentistry, soft tissue management and the concept of oral health/total wellness. To this end, we deliver treatment protocols, step-by-step systems, practical advice and hands-on activities for better examination and diagnosis, as well as a range of treatment tips that all dentists and hygienists should be aware of."

Ms Higgins says the workshop also works informally to give those attending the opportunity to take time out together as a team, and meet staff from other practices around the country to share experiences.

"The workshop is proving helpful for both long-running practices and new operations. One dentist, who is establishing a new practice, said he felt he gained a clearer sense of direction in employing and working with an hygienist. And we make sure it's not all work and no fun - it's a great weekend away in the tropics!"

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