Faye Donald lectures nationally and internationally on the role of prevention in periodontal and implant maintenance. (Image: Faye Donald)
Interview: “It feels like patient-centred care at its very best”
Faye Donald is a multi-award-winning dental hygienist who puts patients’ interest first. She became a certified Swiss Dental Academy (SDA) trainer in 2016 and has been a truly passionate Guided Biofilm Therapy (GBT) ambassador and has been educating dental professionals worldwide in preventive dental care ever since. Recently, Faye was one of over 30 experts who gave lectures in the world’s first 24-hour preventive dentistry webinar. In this interview, she tells Dental Tribune International why GBT changed her way of working completely and why dental professionals need to keep pace with the latest developments in prevention.
Faye, you have almost 20 years’ experience in the dental industry. What are the most significant developments in preventive dentistry that you have seen in that time?
Conclusive findings that dental biofilm is, in fact, the most significant factor in the disease process have resulted in a shift away from deposit removal as a first course of action. Nowadays, we place biofilm disruption at the centre of every visit, and this has seen a dramatic decline in the use of harsh polishing pastes and hand instrumentation. The approach to disease management now involves clinician and patient working together to manage oral health issues with treatments heavily focused on preserving tooth tissue, not removing it.
GBT was launched in 2015. How has the protocol influenced or changed your way of working, and what are the main benefits for both the hygienist and the patient?
The EMS technology and machinery, together with the GBT protocol, allow me to deliver the best possible care quickly, efficiently and with the minimum amount of discomfort. GBT has completely revolutionised the way I work—in particular, the way in which I deliver supportive periodontal therapy. It has given me the tools to deliver an exceptionally high standard of care in a way that is kind to patients, kind to their teeth and kind to me, and the results repeatedly speak for themselves.
The “no pain” technology has been a huge practice builder, and some patients have self-referred and others have travelled long distances to receive what they perceive to be more tolerable hygiene visits. I’ve also seen a significant reduction in dental anxiety and an improvement in the number of patients returning for treatment.
I now have more time to listen to my patients and understand them, and to explain the disease and my patients’ role in the care of their own mouths. It feels like patient-centred care at its very best, and as a clinician, I have great professional satisfaction knowing that the treatment delivered has been thorough and painless.
You founded one of the first GBT practices in the UK. Why did you chose this path?
Technology, understanding of aetiology and subsequent treatment approaches constantly evolve and move on. It’s our duty to move on with them. I believe efficacy and a basis of evidence are the cornerstones needed when considering new products and clinical procedures in practice. Other important factors are patient comfort and clinical plausibility. GBT ticks all the boxes for me.
I am driven by patient-centred care. I’m motivated by delivering care. I believe in being up to date and gold standard. By that I mean meeting a standard of treatment that is evidence-based and in keeping with modern findings, while being kind and sympathetic to the needs of my patients; a standard that delivers care in the most minimally invasive yet most effective way possible.
During the 24-hour webinar, you spoke about ultrasonic scaling. Why is this an essential topic in prevention in dentistry, compared with other treatments?
Ultrasonics plays a vital role in the removal of calcified deposits which present as three-dimensional obstructions to adequate oral hygiene and biofilm disruption. In line with a minimally invasive approach, we should always choose the instrument with which we will get the results most quickly, most comfortably and with the least amount of damage to the tooth surface.
What will the future of dental hygiene therapy look like?
I believe there will be further movement away from traditional treatment modalities and towards minimal intervention and prevention-based dentistry. As our knowledge about the health of the mouth and its relationship with the rest of the body evolves, the role we play as healthcare practitioners will naturally follow suit. We will be recognised more by the public as providing medical care, not just care for the teeth.
As more patients choose to take responsibility for their own health, I think we’ll see the more holistic element of our role develop. As that desire for prevention becomes consumer-driven, I think we’ll also see a more competitive market when it comes to hygiene services. Patients will be looking for the practitioner who can go that extra mile.
On 23 and 24 November, the SDA broadcast the world’s first 24-hour webinar in preventive dentistry in collaboration with EMS. As one of the speakers, Faye educated participants on ultrasonic scaling, focusing on the evidence behind choosing this method over conventional hand instruments. She also gave some unique tips for achieving the best results in ultrasonic scaling. For those who missed the webinar or would like to rewatch Faye’s presentation, the archived lecture are available online at www.24hdentalwebinar.com.