It’s important for her to build a strong relationship with patients. That’s why Amanda tends to see them more frequently during the first year – until she has enough data to understand what their routines are like and to customise a plan that is suitable for them. We talked to Amanda about how dental hygienists can explain to patients the impact their lifestyle choices have on their health, and why it’s important to do so.
What is your dental philosophy and core values of your daily practice?
I believe that if we give patients our time and really listen to them, we can help them with so much more than just a check-up.
As a hygienist, I see my patients on a regular basis – not a lot of people working in healthcare can say that. I have a unique opportunity to affect my patients’ lifestyle choices, in terms of explaining the good and bad habits that have an impact on their oral and general health. I believe in talking to patients as equal human beings, I don’t see myself in a higher position than them.
What does high-quality patient care mean to you?
Seeing patients and thinking about their total health, and not only their oral health. What my patients put in their mouth can potentially be bad for their teeth and oral health, and therefore also their general health, all of which affects their life, family and, on a larger scale, society.
We can help prevent a lot of the main causes of poor life quality and bad health. As we know, oral healthcare and systemic diseases go hand in hand. If we are good motivators and work with our patients as a team – towards reaching a common goal – we can really make a difference.
I want to give my patients a “wow” feeling from the moment they book their appointment until they leave the clinic. That takes a great team to accomplish.
“If we are good motivators and work with our patients as a team, towards reaching a common goal, we can really make a difference.”
What is the best advice that you have received from your colleagues or teachers?
We may all have the same goals, but the road to achieving them will differ. Being a good dental hygienist means that you can adapt to the patients’ needs and guide them on their unique road towards that goal.
How do you motivate patients to keep good post-treatment oral care?
I always give them free check-up four weeks after a treatment. One reason is to do a check-up, but also to keep them close so I see them earlier than in six months’ time.
I do care about patients, and I want them to see me often to build a good relationship. In their first year I tend to see them more frequently, until I have enough data to understand what their routines are like and to customise a plan that is suitable for them.
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. Amanda Dalila Sahnoun is one of those dental professionals who shares these values, and we proudly present her 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 educate yourself?
I attend internal and external courses. I also work at the Oslo University.
What changes do you wish to see in your field during next 5 years?
MORE PROPHYLACTIC THINKING! And an even bigger focus on the connection between oral and general health. I want to be in the first line to help the world beat lifestyle diseases – one mouth at a time.
“Prophylactic treatment is the best and most successful treatment.”
What is a common stereotype of dentistry you dislike?
That dental hygienists are only teeth cleaners. I spend a lot of time explaining what I do and why I work the way I do. Educating our patients is very important. I have realised that knowing the ‘whys’ increases patient compliance.
What is the advice that most of your patients hear from you?
Prophylactic treatment is the best and most successful treatment. The biggest threats to our mouth, teeth and body can be kept away if we think in a prophylactic way.
What is the most underestimated oral care routine from your point of view? How do you try to stress its importance?
Brush thoroughly, with the correct technique and don’t ever skip on interdental cleaning.
Interdental spaces are dead spaces where there is no friction from the lips, tongue, chewing or saliva. We must manually interrupt the biofilm here as it is completely hidden, so it can grow easily and do damage. I show my patients what to do in the mirror. This is much more effective than telling the patients, ‘You must floss,’ on their way out the door.
“Spend time with your patients, as it is the most you can give them in a society where everything is supposed to take less and less time. Stop, listen and help people. “
Which skill and character feature is an absolute must-have in your job as a specialised dental hygienist?
Be knowledgeable and interested in people and guidance, but don’t ever think you are superior to the patients. Be personal and professional at the same time – as I like to call it, be ‘perfessional’.
Learn more about the bigger picture, think about oral care as the key to general health. Spend time with your patients, as it is the most you can give them in a society where everything is supposed to take less and less time. Stop, listen and help people.
What does your oral hygiene routine look like?
I brush my teeth twice a day using a manual (5460 Curaprox) or electric toothbrush – it depends on my mood. I also use interdental brushes (Curaprox blue and pink) and a fluoride rinse. If I’m really letting my hair down, I’ll brush each tooth with the 1006 solo brush.
I stay away from acid drinks, tobacco and drink plenty of water!
Dr. Amanda Dalila Sahnoun graduated from the Faculty of Odontology at the University of Oslo, and since 2021 she has worked as a clinical instructor there. She was the leader of the Dental Hygienist Association in Oslo from 2011 to 2019. She is a practising dental hygienist in Orbdent in Oslo. She is also a leader of Dental Hygienists in Private practices (nationally) since 2019.