October 17, 2023
by Gabriele Maycher, CEO, GEM Dental Experts Inc. BSc, PID, dip DH, RDH
Change for the Better: When Time-Tested Standards are No Longer the Standard
Are flawed processes holding your team back from experiencing better efficiency, healthier clients, happier employees, and continued practice growth?
As a new graduate I am having a hard time integrating the techniques and standards I learned in school into our practice, particularly with some resistance from more senior hygienists.
Navigating differences in clinical approaches and standards of care within a dental practice can be a challenge with every new team member you bring on board. However, it’s important to strive for a unified approach that incorporates the latest research and guidelines to provide the best possible care to clients.
Here are some steps you can take to address the situation and create a more collaborative and updated approach to periodontal care:
1. Seek support from leadership: Bring your concerns to the practice owner or management and ask for their help in facilitating and integrating the new guidelines. Having their support can be essential in driving positive change.
2. Respect senior team members: It’s important to acknowledge the skills that senior hygienists have simply from their years of clinical practice. Emphasize that integrating new guidelines doesn’t invalidate their vast knowledge but, rather, complements and builds on it.
3. Open communication: Start scheduling hygiene meetings to discuss the topic openly. Create a safe space where everyone can express their opinions and concerns without judgment. Encourage a constructive dialogue and ensure that everyone’s perspectives are heard.
4. Present the evidence: Share the latest 2018 AAP Periodontal Classification and any relevant research that supports its benefits over the older standards. Make it clear that incorporating updated guidelines can improve client outcomes and the quality of care provided by the practice.
5. Highlight the benefits of change: Emphasize the advantages of implementing the latest guidelines, such as improved diagnostic accuracy, better treatment planning, and enhanced client education. Show how it aligns with evidence-based dentistry principles.
6. Learn together: To ensure that all team members are on the same page, schedule continuing education sessions where you can review and discuss the updated AAP guidelines and other relevant advancements in periodontal care. This will provide an opportunity for professional growth and foster a unified understanding of the changes you’re implementing.
7. Lead by example: As new graduates, demonstrate the benefits of the updated guidelines in your own clinical work. Share successful case studies or experiences that showcase positive outcomes resulting from using the latest AAP classification. Perhaps schedule monthly chart audit sessions where case studies can be discussed as a group.
8. Be patient and persistent: Changing established practices takes time and effort. Be realistic in your timeline for updating the standards of care. Small steps and gradual progress can make a difference.
9. Find your strength in diversity: Integrating the new guidelines does not negate the value of past practises but aims to enhance and refine our client care strategies. By taking advantage of the diverse knowledge and experiences within your team, you can create a well-rounded approach that combines the best aspects of both the old and new standards.