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MUNICH, Germany: On 17 June, dental professionals flocked to the halls of the BMW Welt event venue in Munich to learn more about the Guided Biofilm Therapy (GBT) concept from prophylaxis specialist EMS. At this event, the second GBT Summit, users reported on how they have implemented GBT successfully from an economic point of view. Attendees also received a technical update presented by experts from science and practice.
GBT as treatment standard
According to the Fifth German Oral Health Study from 2016 and a survey from 2019, around 74% of patients in Germany visit their dental practice for a check-up annually, and 60% have their teeth cleaned professionally at least once a year.
GBT has become the gold standard for clinical prophylaxis and preventive therapy, and already more than 11,000 practices worldwide are GBT-certified. Moderated by Prof. Bettina Dannewitz from Goethe University in Frankfurt, the GBT Summit featured success stories from practice owners, who showed how the concept can be implemented to improve patients’ long-term dental health, bring in additional income and motivate the entire dental team.
Prophylaxis has become an important pillar of the therapy spectrum for many dental practices. For example, Dr Luca Schlotmann runs four dental practices in western Germany with his brother Dr Lennart Schlotmann, and in these practices, over 10,000 GBT treatments were performed on 5,000 patients in 2022 alone.
Dr Schlotmann focuses on effective and gentle GBT with the high-performance AIRFLOW Prophylaxis Master devices from EMS. He said: “Prevention with GBT protects our patients from diseases and saves them unnecessary treatment and costs. They are directors of their own oral health. And GBT is very often perceived as pure relaxation.”
General practitioner, prosthodontist and implantologist Dr Arndt-Christian Höhne from south-western Germany showed that prevention also works very well in rural communities. His two GBT Lounges—treatment units specially designed for prophylaxis according to the GBT protocol—were the first in the German state of Saarland and are located on a separate floor of his practice.
Moreover, Dr Höhne expressed his delight at the design, ergonomics and functionality of the GBT Lounge prophylaxis units with integrated AIRFLOW Prophylaxis Master devices. “It simplifies daily hygiene procedures and installation is a breeze,” he said.
Pricing and positioning
“Prophylaxis is a medically necessary therapy and constitutes an additional income for which you have to do little yourself on an ongoing basis,” reported tax consultant Dr Ann-Kathrin Arp. “Dare to calculate an appropriate fee for your individual prophylaxis as well. Depending upon expenditure and the length of consultation, that can be over €200.” Patients should be made aware of supplementary insurance, which often cover a large part of the cost.
The overall number of dental practices is decreasing, and those that remain are growing larger, yet currently 82% are still solo practices. According to Dr Thomas Sander, a professor of practice economics at the Hannover Medical School in Germany, clear positioning is necessary in order to raise patient awareness. How this can be supported by search engine advertising and optimisation was explained by Christof Sander, Prof. Sander’s son and owner of the Sander Concept marketing agencies in Berlin and Bremerhaven. The usability of content on the practice’s website and on social media is key; content should be interactive, relevant, entertaining and regularly updated.
Guidelines versus experience
Based on a literature review, periodontist Dr Anne Kruse showed that the non-surgical use of AIRFLOW and PERIOFLOW in supportive periodontal therapy was just as effective as ultrasonic or hand instruments but at the same time, simpler, more time-efficient and more patient-friendly.
Furthermore, Prof. Moritz Kebschull, from the University of Birmingham in the UK and the president-elect of the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP), emphasised that practicality and patient acceptance, among other factors, should be considered when developing clinical guidelines for prophylactic treatment.
According to Dr Philipp Sahrmann from the University of Basel in Switzerland, the newly published EFP consensus on the treatment of peri-implant mucositis and peri-implantitis did not find a significantly better clinical benefit for the use of AIRFLOW compared with other established procedures. However, an in vitro study by Dr Sahrmann’s research group showed that the method using the PERIOFLOW handpiece with associated attachments had the best cleaning effect compared with hand or ultrasonic instruments, without altering the implant surface.