Dental professionals should look beyond the patient’s main complaint, and tend to each patient individually.
Dr. Celso Oliveira de Sousa is a dental surgeon, professor and author of several oral health guides and manuals for future dentists and teachers. As a dental surgeon, he treats patients with special needs, which is why he strongly believes in personalised dental care.
What is your dental philosophy and core values of your daily practice?
The most important role of a dentist is to provide comprehensive personalised care based on the needs of a given patient, which naturally differ from person to person. That’s why it is very important to understand and interpret our patients’ needs correctly and do our best to look beyond their main complaint which is to be addressed.
What does high-quality patient care mean to you?
In my professional area, high-quality means integrating dental care with the patient’s general health. Nowadays, we know that there is a bidirectional relationship between these two areas. It’s important to bear that in mind when we look for a resolution of medical problems. It has been proven that early diagnosis in periodontics can improve the overall quality of life, as well as prevent other diseases from developing and restore the patient’s health.
What is the best advice that you have received from your colleagues/teachers?
I once heard a very wise sentence: Happy is he who knows the origin of things. With this philosophy in mind, I looked for resources and authors in the area of periodontics, and as a result I got the opportunity to familiarise myself with the iTOP philosophy. This has provided me with immense knowledge and countless discoveries.
Welcome to the Billion Healthy Mouths Club
Proper routines in prevention are the future of dentistry – that’s why we at Curaden launched the Billion Healthy Mouths Club – a community of dental professionals committed to the idea of having proper routines in prevention and a holistic approach to dentistry. Dr. Celso Oliveira de Sousa is one of those dental professionals who shares these values, and we proudly present his experience and thoughts with other like-minded people from the field. Keep reading our Gently magazine to discover more interviews with forward-thinking professionals from around the world.
How do you motivate patients to keep good post-treatment care?
For good post-treatment care, our patients need the right tools, especially education and instruction provided by a dental professional. After all, good health is a result of good practices and habits – which the patient first needs to learn, as they may be unknown to them. When I speak to patients, I often use visual resources and aids to demonstrate the problem. I’ve learnt that offering such sensory experiences to patients improves the learning process and their ability to take good care of their mouth.
“The iTOP philosophy has provided me with immense knowledge and countless discoveries.”
How do you educate yourself?
First of all, I read periodicals, journals and books, which are a great source of information. I also utilise the opportunities of doing educational courses remotely, especially over the last two years. I believe that lifelong education is important for dental professionals. In terms of practice, I have the opportunity to learn from my patients and students every day in one way or another.
What change do you wish to see in your field during next 5 years?
In all hospital units, you see patients standing in line waiting for a transplant, surgical procedure or cancer treatment. I would love to give them the opportunity to consult with a dentist before going through the medical procedure. For many of these patients, improved oral health can give them an excellent prognosis and support their treatment.
What is a common stereotype in dentistry you dislike? How do you deal with it?
One stereotype I hear quite often is that dentists are only technical restoration professionals, without any relationship to health and medicine. Other people believe that dentistry is just about aesthetics, about making your teeth look nicer. I try to demonstrate that our work is much more than technical restoration or aesthetics – when done correctly, it can improve a patient’s self-respect, self-esteem, emotional balance and health.
“Our work is much more than technical restoration or aesthetics – when done correctly, it can improve a patient’s self-respect, self-esteem, emotional balance and health.”
What is the advice that most of your patients hear from you?
Many of my patients suffer from bleeding gums. The advice they hear the most is that gingival bleeding can be reversed in just 3 to 4 days of proper oral hygiene and dissolution of dental biofilm.
What is the most underestimated oral care routine from your point of view? How do you try to stress its importance?
Most dentists would probably agree that the interproximal region has a very low priority with patients. Nevertheless, in my view, the most underestimated one is the gingiva area – it is a very large area, which means that if it is not sanitised, it can promote biofilm accumulation and inflammation.
Which skill and character feature is an absolute must-have in your job as a periodontist?
On one hand, we need commitment, trust and reliability – all of these features are of vital importance for the ultimate goal. On the other hand, on a more physical level, motor skills must be stimulated. This is important for patients as well, which is why demonstration must be part of the consultations.
What does your oral hygiene routine look like?
I use various tools which help me take better care of my oral health. Recently I have started using Curaprox interdental brushes. In general, to remove the interproximal biofilm. I use the 5460 brush. Although I must say that Curaprox Velvet is another great option for removing dental biofilm. At certain times of the day, I use the single brush.
Dr. Celso Oliveira de Sousa has a double specialisation – in family health strategy from the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro, and in periodontics from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He currently works as a university professor at the Serra dos Órgãos Educational Foundation in Teresópolis and a dental surgeon at the university hospital of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He is qualified in using laser to assist patients who suffer from mucositis as a result of chemo and radiotherapy. At the university hospital, he tends to patients with special needs, candidates for organ transplants, heart surgeries, autoimmune diseases, patients with HIV and other clinical situations. He is the author of the Oral Health Education Guide for teachers and educators, and the Dental Handbook: Smiling with Health in the Family Health Program. In his free time, he practices the Japanese martial art Aikijujutsu and is a fan of the Fluminense football club.