STOP PRESS: STOP FLOSSING!
Despite years of teaching patients how to floss, or not floss as the case may be, experts now say that flossing does not control plaque effectively for those patients with either chronic periodontitis or rapidly progressive periodontitis. So what now? The answer is interspace brushes, which are made in a range of sizes to fit any space. Unlike endodontic instruments where there is an international standard, each manufacturer has its own colour coding arrangement for their own brushes. This is a pity, because it can cause ineffective plaque control if patients do not continue to use the same make of brush.
It is common practice for dental professionals to prescribe just one or two different brush diameters on the grounds that it could be difficult for patients to remember more. However, it follows that using just one or two sizes of brush will not control interproximal plaque effectively if the brushes are too small for the space, and that can create a false sense of care. One study has shown that the pattern of brush sizes required for optimum plaque control around the mouth is unique to each patient, and when professional reviewed can require between one and seven different brush sizes to properly match the patients’ needs.
- Helps the patient be effective and efficient in the use of interdental brushes for plaque control.
- Reduces the risk of claims for failure to diagnose or treat periodontal disease.
- Places the onus on the patient for their own daily care.
The Spacemark Dental System
Would you like :
- To improve the quality of care you already provide for your patients with periodontal disease and increase your fee income?
- Your patients to improve their interproximal plaque control?
- Ensure your patients remember to use the correct size brush for each space?
- To provide your patients with a computer generated and easy to follow chart to assist in their correct brush size usage for each space?
- To have a precise record of your prescription rather than relying on verbal advice?
- To charge your patients a small fee for providing such a chart
- To have a more precise method of monitoring patient compliance with your advice?
The answer is to use the personalised Spacemark Dental chart that shows precisely which brush size should be used in which space, and which spaces are too small for interdental brushes. It also provides proof that you have provided appropriate periodontal advice and may help to limit any litigation claims against you. It is low cost at £1.00 per patient chart.
How does it work? Sign in with your email address and obtain a randomly generated password, then change this to your own password. These two pieces of information will ensure that no one but you can access your database.
Make sure your colour printer is configured to print the background information, and read and follow the instructions first.
Check each space with different diameter brushes until the right size for the space is found. NB with experience it becomes easier to choose the right size first or second time. Click on the space, then the colour chosen, and the Spacemark Dental programme will put that into the space. Continue for the whole mouth then save for your records. However, as dental professionals we chart looking at the patient, so their right side is on the left side of the page. As it is necessary to create a mirror image for the patient to follow, the change view reverses the image for you to either print out for the patient to follow, or download onto their IPad together with the instruction sheet.
For private patients you may wish to make a small fee charge for the chart.
Give your patient for free the brushes you have just used as their starter, and make sure you have plenty of packets of brushes of your chosen make for immediate purchase at reception. If you can arrange for patients to purchase any replacement brushes through you, then there is another method to monitor brush use.
- You have created a unique prescription record for your patient.
- You have proof that you have prescribed appropriately for that patient.
- There is an instruction sheet available in several languages with a daily compliance record. Your patient can download more themselves from the website, but cannot access their own records.
- You can review the daily compliance record and compare that with any changes in pocket depths and/or bleeding on probing and review your advice.
Another good sign that patients have improved their plaque control is their reporting back at follow up appointments with the comment that ‘I could get a bigger brush there’. In these cases update the chart, save, change view and print off another patient record.
This is another measurable method to supplement the well recognised signs of improvement in periodontal health such as reductions in pocket depth, bleeding points and plaque scores.
Spacemark Dental has been designed to ensure that your patients have the right tools for effective plaque control and you have placed the onus on them to make a lifestyle choice to prevent the long, slow decline of tooth loss from periodontal disease, and is a significant step forward in periodontal disease control and patient care.
The Missing Tooth/Teeth
When patients have a missing tooth and/or teeth, normal toothbrushing will always leave plaque on the mesial and distal tooth surface by this space. You should prescribe, therefore, a large size brush to clean each surface.