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Welsh dentists take on educational roles to improve care in their practices

A new initiative has seen 58 dentists across Wales take on roles in education and training to enhance patient services in their practices, since launching six months ago.

Dentists who attend Health Education and Improvement Wales’s (HEIW) Making Prevention Work in Practice (MPWiP) training course are equipped to teach dental nurses how to give preventive care advice to patients and the application of fluoride varnish.

Kirstie Moons, Associate Director for Dental Team Workforce Planning and Development at HEIW, said: “MPWiP provides a unique opportunity for dental teams to deliver optimum patient care focusing on prevention as set out in Welsh Government’s long-term plan A Healthier Wales- the Oral and Dental Services Response.

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“The course enables dentists to become educational trainers, training their dental nurses in the workplace using current clinical evidence for preventive care.

“Following completion of the course, each dentist will go onto train 3 or 4 dental nurses, meaning the potential impact of this ripple effect model of training is huge.”

Research suggests that as much as 73% of treatment in general dental practices could be carried out by DCPs – dental nurses, hygienists, therapists, and technicians. Training dental nurses to provide effective self-care instructions to patients and to apply fluoride varnish will give dentists more time to provide advanced care to patients with more complex needs.

Dr Jeremy Williams, a dentist at Rosehill Dental Practice in Conwy, said: “We have found the MPWiP course the perfect way to deliver training to our dental nurses to increase their skills and knowledge.

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“Training in house means it is much easier to build time for the delivery of the course and the supervision of the prevention advice and fluoride applications into a busy NHS practice.”

Valerija Owens, a dental nurse at the same practice, added: “I saw this course as a great opportunity to widen the scope of what I do on a daily basis.

“I found my learning experience positive and it gave me the opportunity to gain new skills and grow professionally. Since completing the course, I’ve enjoyed seeing patients independently giving them preventive advice on oral health.”

Kirstie Moons, continued: “The feedback from all parties to date has been unequivocally positive and I am delighted that HEIW is able to offer this innovation to dental teams and services in Wales to improve the provision of oral health care for patients.”

The next Making Prevention Work in Practice courses for dentists will be held on 19 September 2019 (Swansea) and 22 October 2019 (Rhyl).

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