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Preventive Practice of the Year

Aug. 1, 2000
The Preventive Practice of the Year award was designed to give hygienists throughout the United States an opportunity to compare themselves to the most successful practices in the country. Success can be defined in many ways, and the Preventive Practice of the Year program is based on a series of different parameters that are evaluated for each applicant. This year, we received several worthy applications. After reviewing all the applications and visiting the practices, the judges came to the un

The Levin Group, Optiva Inc., and RDH magazine

present the winner of the ...

South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry

Joni L. Reynolds, Levin Group Associate

The Preventive Practice of the Year award was designed to give hygienists throughout the United States an opportunity to compare themselves to the most successful practices in the country. Success can be defined in many ways, and the Preventive Practice of the Year program is based on a series of different parameters that are evaluated for each applicant. This year, we received several worthy applications. After reviewing all the applications and visiting the practices, the judges came to the unanimous conclusion that South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry is truly in a league of its own.

South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry, located in San Jose, Calif., was started 25 years ago. Their unique nonsurgical periodontal therapy program began in 1990 and has been growing for the past 10 years. South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry epitomizes so many of the attributes of an outstanding hygiene team.

The judges` decision was based on the following factors:

- Organization and operation of the hygiene team

- Patient education

- Diagnostic and preventive services

- Oral home care instruction

- Oral home care products available in the office

- Follow-up procedures and recall systems

- Interaction between hygienist and patient

- Communication between the hygienist and dentist

South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry has an experienced 11-person staff. All 11 have one shared goal: Making sure patients, whether new or returning, receive the best of care. South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry`s mission statement sums up its commitment: "We desire as a cohesive team to serve our patient and fellow worker with excellence in attitude and performance as they are the most special guests in our lives. We also commit ourselves by choice to change and grow enthusiastically to become the Nordstrom in dentistry ... the very best we can become ... because we experience success and happiness when we help others get what they want, need, and deserve."

Gayle Schmidt, RDH, heads this dynamic hygiene team. A 1968 graduate of Marquette University, Schmidt is certified for the hygiene management of implant cases. She is also the author of Building Your Practice 365 Ways a Year. Schmidt views helping people as her mission. She is committed to educating her guests about the health benefits that can be gleaned from making a commitment to good oral health care.

Schmidt was asked about how the South Valley hygiene program would benefit other hygiene teams. She replied, "This program would benefit other hygiene departments in that it gives them a template or guideline for a structured home care program. With so many products available for the public to choose from, people become confused as to which products would be best suited for them. This program offers a win-win scenario because healthcare professionals feel a sense of professionalism in that they provide an individually customized program suitable strictly for their patient`s benefit."

The new patient experience

From the very first phone call to the office, patients know this practice is committed to customer service. Patients are referred to as "guests" and treated as such throughout their treatment. After initial information is gathered during the phone call, guests are advised that a welcome package will arrive in the mail. The staff member explains that the first treatment will take approximately two hours and will not include a teeth cleaning. Two days before the guest is scheduled to visit, the appointment is confirmed through Tel-A-Patient, a computerized system, .

The office decor is an eclectic mix of island wicker furniture, lavish floral accents, and, of course, photographs of beautiful smiling faces on the walls.

The enthusiastic front desk staff completes the experience. Janine Gould is the office manager. Sirena Torrez is the scheduling coordinator, and Gerrie Silva is the insurance coordinator.

Children are never bored in the waiting area. South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry has an extensive DVD movie collection for their entertainment as they await treatment. Most of the time, though, the waiting area features comprehensive DVD programming provided by CAESY. Guests are never out of touch while at South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry — if they`re expecting an important e-mail message, there are convenient computers exclusively for patient use in the reception room. When the guests are comfortable, they are asked for the paperwork that was sent to their homes prior to the visit. After reviewing the paperwork, the staff offers guests fresh coffee, tea, apple juice, daily fresh-baked muffins, or prepares a cappuccino.

When guests are ready for the initial treatment, the hygienist enters the reception area and welcomes them to South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry. The hygienist then gives the guest a tour of the facility. During this time, the hygienist answers any questions new guests might have and assures them that South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry is not only in compliance with OSHA`s requirements, but exceeds federal safety standards. The tour ends in the hygienist`s operatory. The hygienist then reviews the patient`s history and answers any additional questions prior to the beginning of the actual treatment.

Fedra Pourbabaei, RDH, is the practice`s other hygienist who works alongside Schmidt. Tuyet Linh Vu, RDA, is the hygiene coordinator. During the period judged for the Preventive Practice of the Year, a third hygienist, Dawna Evans, was employed by the practice. Evans has since left the practice.

The comprehensive examination

South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry is committed to the total well-being of all of its guests. The hygienist takes eight pictures of the guest for before-and-after documentation. She affixes the pictures to the monitor and to the guest`s folder. She takes the guest`s vital signs: blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration rate, and height and weight. She also uses a shade guide to record the shade of the guest`s teeth before taking a full-mouth series of X-rays and a Panorex. The hygienist collects vital information from the guest that is added to the patient`s computer record. The review includes recording occlusion, temporomandibular jaw movement, and facial esthetics. She charts the guest`s e-mail address and other pertinent health history information into the computer. Health alerts are indicated by putting an appropriate tape color on the guest`s folder. The patients` primary concerns — the reason for visiting the office — are also always noted.

Patients are also asked a series of questions. For example, do you chew gum? Do you suffer from headaches? Do you have sinus problems or do you clench or grind your teeth? Guests are also queried on the toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash used as part of their daily oral home healthcare routine.

The next important procedure is the soft-tissue oral-cancer exam. The hygienist palpates and explores the entire oral cavity, hard and soft palate, tongue, cheeks, vestibules, lips, face, neck, glands, and throat. The periodontal probing is recorded on the computer and two printouts are made in two different formats. One of the printouts is designed to explain periodontal findings to the guest.

The staff also takes the opportunity to assure guests that they made the right decision by coming to South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry. The practice is equipped with the personnel, equipment, and expertise to treat any periodontal condition that guests might have.

In a small, secluded room between the two hygiene operatories, a halimeter is available for conducting breath analysis.

Once the hygienist`s initial findings have been collected, a dentist examines the guest. The doctor will diagnose the condition and outline a treatment plan before explaining the diagnosis in layman`s terms to the guest. If a periodontal condition is detected, the guest will be scheduled for an appointment as soon as possible.

South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry offers three dentists. Dr. William Schmidt (Gayle`s husband) and Dr. Stephanie Berg are cosmetic dentists. Dr. Scott Prawat specializes in endodontics, implant dentistry, and oral surgery.

The intraoral camera is then used to give guests a tour of their mouths. The hygienist highlights areas of concern to the guest, and, if there is a periodontal condition, the hygienist informs the guest.

The second appointment

The patient is advised prior to this visit to eat and take two Advil. After guests are escorted into the operatory, their necks are immediately draped with a warm aromatherapy pillow. Since operatories are often chilly, the guest is given a fleece blanket, a massager, and even a pair of slippers for additional comfort. Headphones with a choice of music or satellite television serve as a calming element and offer the guest a welcome distraction during treatment. Once the guest is completely comfortable, the real work begins.

The nonsurgical periodontal treatment in the office employs the most current advancements in technology and instrumentation. All treatment is done by both hygienists through Orascopics magnification loupes and high-intensity lighting. Hu-Friedy`s color-coded microsonics are used in a Dentsply low 25K vibration along with after-five mini-rigid curettes, SubO Curvette, 13/14, 15/16, 17/18 access curettes among other scalers and curettes.

All guests are conducted through a 30-second chlorhexidine pre-rinse, which is followed by being disclosed with a two-tone disclosing solution. Topical and local anesthetic is administered for the guest`s comfort. Their tongues are scraped with a tongue scraper rinsed in Breath Rx. Iodine and tetracycline lavages are delivered via a canula and a monojet syringe, or the mouth is flushed using the Cavimed with chlorhexidine solution. This is then followed by the use of the NdYag laser used to sterilize the pocket and sulcular areas. Vitamin E is applied topically to the tissues to aid in their healing process followed by one final 30-second rinse of chlorhexidine.

The flow of treatment for a nonsurgical patient is that two quadrants are treated during the first visit, and two quadrants are treated one week later. The guest is asked to return in one month for a periodontal maintenance procedure where periodontal probing is done and compared to the prior measurements. Continuing care appointments are reserved for the guest, which continue at appropriate intervals from there, depending upon compliance to the home care program.

Guests are given a thorough examination and the treatment is explained throughout the procedure. South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry knows that treatment is not truly complete until guests understand how to take care of their teeth and gums at home.

A home regime is detailed on a laminated instruction sheet. Six steps are listed on the sheet, and specific products are referred to in each step. The hygienist circles the products recommended for home care — specific to that guest`s needs — then runs it through a cold-press laminator to seal the instructions, so that guests can use the sheet without being damaged by water in their bathrooms at home.

The text of the nonsurgical peridontal therapy instructions is shown on the previous page. All of the products that are recommended are also beautifully displayed in the office.

South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry has witnessed phenomenal results when guests comply with home care recommendations, including the use of the recommended products.

When the exam or treatment is completed, guests often need to freshen up before leaving the office. The marbled powder room at South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry is comparable to entering an elegant restroom in a resort. A broad array of cosmetics and amenities is available in the women`s room, while the men`s room boasts shaving equipment as well as other toiletries. With fresh flowers, burning candles, and music playing, guests experience much comfort as they prepare to leave.

Once the guests are ready, they are escorted to the front desk and given a South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry bag with all the products outlined in the home care treatment plan. The guest does not have to run from drugstore to drugstore looking for the products. The bag also serves as a marketing tool as it displays the South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry name (which will be seen by other potential patients).

The patient is scheduled for the next visit in which the hygienist will repeat the same procedures, but only on the left quadrants. Post nonsurgical instructions are given to the guest, and the next day the guest receives a follow-up call.

The importance of a great team

The key to a successful team is a motivated staff. The members of the team have a shared passion for dentistry. South Valley continually updates the skills of the staff, purchasing the necessary equipment that allows the staff to work more effectively. It has also made a commitment to continuing education classes for the staff. Team members commit to at least 100 CEUs a year, far in excess of California requirements.

South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry realizes the key to a motivated staff is having an organized business plan. If systems are in place and followed, a more relaxed, friendly environment is created. When the dental team is efficient and job responsibilities are well-defined, the team is happy. Schmidt says: "Synergy is created with a happy team, and a successful practice evolves from this."

Schmidt was asked about what keeps her motivated after all these years. She recalled a low point in her career. "I burned out after 22 years," she said, "but in 1990, when OSHA made us more aware of the bacteria in our surroundings, I became more aware of the dangers of bacteria to our health. After hearing many experts in the periodontal realm and dental products speak, I felt people needed direction as to what was right for them to use at home so that they could eliminate bleeding once and for all. And with all the high risk of working in a bloodborne environment, I wanted my patients in a healthier state as well."

The entire staff shares this commitment to the well-being of all the guests who allow South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry the privilege of being their oral healthcare provider.

South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry has combined clinical, technological, and staff expertise to create a patient-friendly environment. Its ultimate goal is to provide superior patient care, and that has been achieved. The staff`s positive attitudes and enthusiastic personalities create an enjoyable environment for all.

Guests are so pleased with their treatment at South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry that they share their experiences with friends. Guests who have relocated to the East Coast come back to South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry for the exceptional treatment.

Not only is prevention emphasized inside the office, but the message is also taken to the surrounding San Jose community by way of professionally created dental characters. These characters perform at schools, shopping malls, county fairs, health fairs, and other functions. Plaque Invader and Inspector K-9 are the heroes who always arrive in time to aid children from the destructive forces of Jumpin` Jack Plaque, Chip, and Chop. By becoming a PlaQuadet, a child pledges to brush twice a day. The child is given a "credit card" indicating membership. The message is simple — take good care of your teeth and they`ll never be false to you.

Last year, South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry noted its 25th anniversary. To celebrate, the practice rented a gym in the high school across the street, and paid professional decorators to develop a "safari theme." A buffet dinner and games reflected the theme of the gala. The practice invited its entire "guest" list, and more than 500 people attended. In addition to a safari hat, everyone received some other giveaways, including home care products. Not only was this an external marketing opportunity, but it was also their way of showing their patients that they appreciate being chosen as their dental care professionals.

The Levin Group, Optiva, and RDH magazine are delighted to announce South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry as the winner of the 1999 Preventive Practice of the Year.

If you believe your practice has the aforementioned criteria give us a call and talk to one of our practice analysts at (888) 973-0000. You might have what it takes to be our 2000 winner of the Preventive Practice of the Year award, call now!

Click here to enlarge image

The dental hygiene team at South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry (from left to right): Tuyet Linh Vu, Gayle Schmidt, and Fedra Pourbabaei.

Click here to enlarge image

The staff at South Valley Center of Cosmetic Dentistry consists of (left to right) Gerrie Silva, Janine Gould, Sirena Torrez, Fedra Pourbabaei, RDH, EF, Mischelle Benassi, RDA, Scott Prawat, DDS, Gayle M. Schmidt, RDH, BS, EF, Stephanie A. Berg, DDS, Tuyet Linh Vu, RDA, William J. Schmidt Jr., DDS, and Mary Ann Jacobs, RDA.

South Valley`s home care plan

On a laminated instruction sheet, guests are provided the following instructions (the hygienist circles the appropriate options [italicized below] for each patient):

* Do complete program [once / twice] a day (4-41/2 minutes.)

* Step 1: Place a zig-zag amount of Breath Rx Tongue Gel on your tongue. Wait a few seconds, then scrape your tongue with the tongue scraper. Follow by rinsing with a capful of [CloSYSII Rinse / Perio Rx] for 30 seconds (easily done in the shower).

* Step 2: Waterpik (using the rubber Pik Pocket tips) the entire mouth with Blue Listerine mouthwash. Fill the Waterpik with 3 ounces of solution and one cup of warm water. Place the rubber tip up on the upper teeth and down on the lower teeth. It takes approximately 40 seconds to empty the Waterpik reservoir so move quickly. Decontaminate the environment of 400 species of bacteria before brushing.

* Step 3: Brush with (morning) CloSYSII Toothpaste and in the (evening) alternate with these toothpastes: [Colgate Total / Breath Rx / Colgate Sensitive / Prevident 5000 / Phos-Flur / Ultrabrite / Gel Kam / Qdent / Mentadent-P / Biotene] on the brushead of a [Sonicare Ultrasonic Toothbrush / Oral B Youth Toothbrush].

* Outsides: Brush in an exaggerated circular fashion, brushing both upper and lower teeth at the same time, stimulating the gum tissues. Relax your facial muscles to loosen your lips and cheeks. Put your teeth tip-to-tip, apply pressure, and speed up your strokes. Notice the tissues blanching — turning white as you apply the pressure of the strokes.

* Insides: Brush back and forth as in scrubbing the floor and go very deep down below the gumline — on the gum tissues.

* Two-minute timer: The Sonicare will beep every 30 seconds. Once it is turned on, continue brushing until all four beeps have sounded and the toothbrush turns itself off.

* In a mug filled with 1/4 cup bleach, a drop of dishsoap and water, disinfect your brushhead for 30 minutes once a month or when you have a cold.

* Step 4: Floss with [Glide Floss (Teflon) / Woven Floss / Superfloss / Proxi-Floss] on the sides of each tooth surface in an up-and-down direction. [Saw / wrap / rub] by hand or use an E Z Floss Holder. Have tension in your floss, and friction rub in a "C-shape" the sides of the teeth. It takes approximately 20 seconds to floss the entire mouth.

* Step 5: Rinse with a capful of [Breath Rx / Perio Rx / Perio Plus / Act / Biotene / Oral Balance Gel] rinse for 30 seconds.

* Step 6: Clean the spaces in between your teeth with [Rotapoint Toothpicks / Proxi-Tip / Proxi-Pik / Proxi Sticks / Proxibrush / Perio Brush / Rubber Tip Stimulator] as you watch TV, drive your car, or sit at your desk.

Compliance to this program has brought dramatic results toward a healthy condition — i.e., gums that are pink, flat, pointed and dotted in a very rapid time frame. It has also stopped bleeding, which we now know is directly related to cardiovascular diseases. We are here to assist you with this program, so please feel free to call Gayle or Fedra with even the smallest of questions at (408) 578 - 6161. Enjoy ... and best wishes on your journey to a healthy, beautiful smile!

Click here to enlarge image
Click here to enlarge image

Gayle Schmidt (right) treats a patient in her operatory, while the other two members of the South Valley hygiene team — Fedra Pourbaei (above left) and Tuyet Linh Vu (above right) work on another patient in the other hygiene operatory.