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prevention International magazine for oral health No. 1, 2017

practical prevention | indivdually trained oral prophylaxis don’t we have mandatory exams in oral hygiene? Why are dental professionals able to graduate when they are bleed- ing interdentally? And why don’t we have practical, proper, sophisticated training in oral hygiene?” In contrast to other medi- cal disciplines, prevention in dentistry is easy to achieve, continued Sedelmayer. The oral cavity is easy to access and most major causes of oral disease have been identified. In fact, proper devices and tech- niques have been developed only to be applied by everyone individually. Today, individual training is easier than ever. Change is just one generation away Although today’s dental profession- als usually have improved oral hygiene, Sedelmayer seems to be right in saying that iTOP should be mandatory in dental schools. While the dentist of today might be difficult to con- vince, the future of preventative dentistry lies in the hands of those students who have expe- rienced the patient perspective themselves. Those students will be able to carry on the virtue of prevention in schools and practices. In the end, change requires not only repetition and motivation, but also people will- ing to integrate prophylaxis in the current curricula of dental schools. This is a long-term goal with generations necessary to achieve it, but it is a goal only achievable through individual training and a motivated dental workforce. Marios Domesthenous might be part of that generation willing to change the hierarchy of dentistry. He is a first-year dental student from Cyprus, currently studying in Greece. With an outgoing per- sonality, he loves to travel and experience new things. His vision as a future dentist is to inspire patients and teach them how to achieve lifelong oral health. He heard about iTOP from a friend who attended the Curaden Student Camp in Portugal. Within two days, the iTOP philosophy had convinced him completely. “In medical sci- ences, we should always seek to prevent diseases and not cure them. We are so focused on treating the damage that we stop thinking about how to prevent it. We should not leave the iTOP philosophy be- hind, but teach it to our future colleagues and lecturers. From first-year students to older dental professionals, the iTOP phi- losophy is intuitive to everyone.” In the classroom, Domesthenous sits right next to Volodymyr Tovarnytskyi, another first-year student, from Ukraine. At first, he was more excited to come to Prague, spend two nights in the Czech capital and meet dental students from all over the world. However, his enthusiasm for oral hygiene grew tremendously after he felt the interdental brush moving easily through his narrow anterior teeth. Back home, his university lecturers had taught him that medium-hard toothbrushes and The road to lifelong oral health requires change. Change requires motivation. And motivation requires repetition of education and training. Lifelong oral health without education is impossible. dental floss should be used. Now, he feels overwhelmed after having experienced soft toothbrushes and interdental brushes. “I will be a dentist in the future. I need to know what pressure to apply and how to clean teeth.” Change needs to happen Back to Cologne. Just like Sedelmayer, Claudia Berki is a true pioneer in prophy- laxis. She has been working at the Univer- sity Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf at the Department of Preventive and Restorative Dentistry since 1984. Sedel- mayer and Berki met in Hamburg and became close friends. While enjoying a short break, she is quick to summarise her impressions after the first few hours at IDS: “We are at a trade fair, so we are basi- cally only speaking to dental professionals. And alarmingly, we found that some visi- tors do not clean their interdental spaces. We saw bleeding gingivae. As soon as we showed them interdental brushes and explained the benefits, the response was incredible.” Like her fellow iTOP instruc- tors, Berki has decades of experience. Still, she has learnt that change continues to be necessary. First, one’s own behaviour needs to be modified, then the practice behaviour needs to adapt, and finally pa- tient behaviour needs to change. All three steps are equally important. Lifelong oral health without education is impossible. According to Berki, from a human per- spective, it is difficult to say that someone has made a mistake—especially in front of patients. Five years ago, there were other approaches to hygiene that were regarded as the best meth- ods at the time, but science develops and knowledge too. Biofilm management alone has come a long way in the past few years. Cologne or Prague, in the dental office or at a coffee table: the dentist can choose between two approaches to oral hygiene today. He or she can show the patient prophy- lactic techniques using the Touch2Teach method and demonstrate how he or she can maintain his or her oral health for a lifetime, removing a bit of cal- culus in the process and giving the teeth a polish and so forth; or he or she can spend an hour simply removing calculus, polishing, applying fluoride treatments and so on. In the latter option, oral hygiene instructions are given through a nicely designed brochure or video in the wait- ing room. Which way will produce more successful results? ITOP automatically enhances patient satisfaction. Patients are grateful that having their teeth cleaned individually is a painless experience. In a world full of creatures of habit, a moti- vated and educated dental professional can change everyone. 48 issue #1

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