I was honoured to be interviewed for the cover feature of this month’s edition of BDJ in Practice, which addresses ‘Behaviour change;...
At the ‘endo’ the day – part two
One dentist’s journey to successfully introducing improved rotary endodontic therapy, with an innovative, cost-effective approach, Ben Atkins relates how he came to the decision to review and standardise the endodontic offering across his practice group.
Why one way is the best way
In a practice with 12 associate dentists, there are many different approaches and techniques to contend with. Each dentist has their own distinct method of working, something that does not necessarily make us efficient or profitable. To ensure a consistent level of service and quality in endodontics, I decided that it was necessary to introduce a uniform process and procedure across the Revive group. With one approach, we are now able to implement processes that can be monitored and further improved.
Drilling down to create a methodology
With the help of Dentsply Sirona we developed a roadmap, whereby associates could follow a prescribed training programme, then be provided with materials and equipment and ‘authorised’ to carry out endodontics within our practices. Those that chose not to follow the prescribed route simply can’t use the new endodontic materials. I admit that this has met with some opposition, as there is an assumption that as they are already experienced dentists, they are capable of using the equipment, without first needing to be trained. Developing the roadmap not only built my confidence in Dentsply Sirona, but also in myself and my ability to carry out endodontic work more effectively. It has made me look at all my materials, rather than just accepting the status quo. The same increase in confidence has been mirrored in those associates who have undertaken the training. By developing a strong relationship with one manufacturer, both sides are invested in success and there is a mutual return on the investment made by both parties. This means that less resource is wasted on a ‘mix and match’ approach. The components of our roadmap include:
– Dentsply Academy – training available via the Dentsply Sirona website. Each ‘how to’ video needed to be watched and understood
– Attending a ‘lunch and learn’ – this session provided training on the app and how it impacts on endontic treatment outcomes. The app fully integrates into our software systems and if used effectively, will provide huge benefits to the dentist, such as emailing patient reports
– Endo day – each associate spends one day with a complete focus on endodontics. Although at the outset a whole day seemed excessive, every dentist who has completed it has understood the benefits of a full day
– Clinical day – this advanced learning day is led by Dentsply Sirona’s clinical advisor, Michael Davidson. It enables the dentists to complete 20 endodontic treatments and provides the opportunity for further development and hands-on experience
– Next stage – patient communication.
One of the biggest challenges on this journey has been to achieve wholehearted buy-in from my associates. As with any new initiative, there will always be early adopters and laggards. Two of my associates completed the training within a month. Now 10 months after its initial introduction, 50% of my associates have successfully completed the training, 40% are part way through and 10% are yet to start.
I know that I have benefitted enormously from the training. I can even find MB2 on upper sixth regularly! I have found that the time it takes me to undertake root canal work has reduced by half and I have increased confidence in my own ability and faith in the tools and materials that I am using.
The results from my associates that have completed the training are also qualitative and quantifiable. They have developed more confidence in the system and there is a greater understanding about endodontics from the wider team. The associates’ feedback fully justifies the business and clinical decisions that were made:
Dr Sam Wong: ‘I have done all the training, including the one-day endo training. I am using the Waveone Gold system now and have had more opportunity to use it on my NHS patients since the training day, which honed my skills. I feel more confident and have just sold my first private RCT.’
Dr Jonny Stevens: ‘The morning was very successful and dare I say it, almost enjoyable. Having never been the biggest endodontic enthusiast, I was able to complete three separate RCTs on a mix of premolars and molars. The kits organised by Dentsply Sirona were fantastic. Ben had arranged for each kit to have all the necessary equipment to complete an RCT with rotary system, but also had added extras such as using the Proglider file and restoring the base of cavities with SDR, which will be fantastic for use on our private endo cases.’
We will continue to work with Dentsply Sirona and develop the added-value offering that enables us to treat root canal cases, and introduce items such as ultrasonic cleaning and SDR restoration. I will strongly encourage all my associates to complete the training and at that point I will be able to accurately monitor the costs and its success. However, based on all early indications, this innovation is an unmitigated success.