Feature | Published:

Christmas in the dental practice

BDJ Team volume 1, Article number: 14131 (2014) | Download Citation

We asked a selection of dental professionals how they celebrate the festive season.

Dr Peter Doyle

Principal, Crosby Dental, Liverpool. Peter runs Crosby Dental with his wife Lisa who is the practice manager. There are three associates, an in-house hygienist and a ‘team of wonderful dental nurses’.

My team love Christmas time and have already started decorating the practice (see pictures)! We are hoping to get the final touches finished by early December. Each year, we have a staff Christmas outing and secret Santa. This year we are heading to a new hotel and restaurant on the docks called the Titanic which is the new hot spot in Liverpool.

We are currently running our Mouth Manicure Season which is a time-limited package combining tooth whitening and a hygiene appointment for a discounted price until 31 December.

Over the festive period we do see an increase of people with cracked teeth, broken on things like nuts and crusty bread, so emergency appointments are often a priority.

We recently donated some vouchers to a local primary school for a their new minibus and always like to try and get a table together for the Marina Dalglish appeal ball at Knowsley Hall in Liverpool. The ball raises money for cancer care in Merseyside and is held in February.

As a family, Christmas is a big deal and we like to go to church on Christmas day. It's also my birthday on Christmas Eve but I tend to work during the morning and double celebrations begin later on.

To maintain good oral health over the festive season I recommend lots more flossing and interdental brushing, especially if you are hoping to get underneath the mistletoe at a Christmas party!

Crosby Dental is open on the morning of New Year's Eve, but as for celebrations we tend to do that with friends and like to stay local in Liverpool.

We recently had dental business consultant Sheila Scott at the practice so we will be implementing what we learned from her in 2015 for sure.

Fliss Cleaver (BDJ Team reader panel)

Image: ©S-E-R-G-O/iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Dental practice manager/coach, Plymouth

We decorate our practice with baubles and lights. One day we finish early and all head out for Christmas lunch which goes on into the evening. I think Christmas jumpers are a must this year!

We find that the run up to Christmas is the busiest time of year. Everyone wants their lab work done in time for Christmas and there are lots of hygiene appointments.

Our practice always supports charities - not just at Christmas - especially the local children's hospice.

At Christmas itself I'm usually in the Outer Hebrides visiting my Mum! I look forward to catching up with loved ones from near and far.

When it comes to looking after my oral health over the festive season, I'm afraid I'm a bit naughty! But I try not to pick throughout the day and eat cheese after sweet treats to neutralise the mouth.

On New Year's Eve I'm planning to watch fireworks in Dartmouth with loved ones. In 2015 I'm planning to move and to complete my Coaching diplomas.

Stacy Bennett

Dental nurse, Worthing

A welcoming big green fake Christmas Tree with pretty baubles and gold beaded garlands strung around it with sparkling lights shining through sits in the porch of Grand Avenue Dental Practice, Worthing, West Sussex. It's that time of year again and each surgery loves to decorate their rooms with Christmas decorations, from a little tree to a lit-up snowman.

To get us all merry we have a dress up Santa day. This helps us to raise money for St Barnabas Hospice, a local charity. Due to the size of Grand Avenue Dental Practice and the number of staff, for quite a few years now we have had a collection for a charity instead of giving each other Christmas cards. The charity we have chosen this year is the Alzheimer's Society, due to it being very close to the hearts of some staff members.

Usually the week leading up to Christmas, one lunch time, the whole team comes together in the waiting room for Secret Santa and a raffle and the partners treat us all to pizzas and buck's fizz. This year we are also having a masquerade Christmas party the last Friday before Christmas.

This time of year brings the temptation of delicious treats, so we advise patients if they are going to enjoy a chocolate/festive treat to have them at the same time as a main meal. We recently had a visit from a Colgate rep giving us samples of the new Colgate maximum cavity protection to give to patients. This toothpaste also has a sugar acid neutraliser which is brilliant especially at this time of year. I have started to use it twice a day, alongside my daily flossing routine.

The practice has dentists on call for any emergencies out of hours. We do see a few more emergencies at this time of year with people just checking any problems will be okay to leave until the New Year. I think some of the worst cases are people who break a front tooth or are in a lot of pain from a dental abscess; there is absolutely no way you can leave them over the holiday period.

At my local church each year we collect for the shoe box appeal that I help with, which is really rewarding to pack up gifts for the less fortunate.

On New Year's Eve I will be seeing it in with my family and friends. I'm not a big lover of New Year's Eve though - I prefer the build up to Christmas.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

Rachael England (BDJ Team reader panel)

Dental hygienist, Dubai

I've been living in Dubai for just over a year. I'm still working as a dental hygienist and about to start studying for an MSc in Public Health.

Despite living in the Middle East and the average temperature being over 20°C in December, we still put up a Christmas tree in the waiting room and our company treats us all to a Christmas party. There are over 300 staff at my clinic so it's a good one! I've downloaded plenty of Christmas songs for the iPod to start playing on 1 December.

Working in Dubai is not much different to being at home in the UK in the clinic, although you can tell where patients are from by their dentistry, which is interesting. I'm sure we'd all agree that the last minute dental emergencies just before Christmas are pretty annoying.

I have volunteered twice for Crisis at Christmas, as a dental nurse and as a dental hygienist. I would encourage everyone to take part; the clients are so incredibly grateful and it's a humbling experience which rekindles passion for the profession [http://www.crisis.org.uk/pages/volunteer-christmas.html].

After joining the Royal Air Force when I was 18, going home for the festive season has always been a very special time of the year for me. This year will be no different and I'm flying back to the UK from Dubai on Christmas Eve to spend time with my family.

Regarding all the tempting treats over Christmas, I say a few days' indulgence will not do any harm, so pass the Babycham!

I'll be back in Dubai for New Year's Eve, spending time with my urban family and trying to avoid the awful Dubai traffic. I will be beginning my MSc course early in January 2015, so the next two years will be dedicated to procrastination and studying. After that I hope to work in the public health field - we'll see how it goes!

Asif Chatoo

Specialist in Orthodontics. Asif works at The London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic with one dental hygienist, two orthodontic nurses, an orthodontic therapist, a receptionist and a practice manager.

We always have a staff outing in December and we tend to choose a new restaurant in London. We like to decorate the practice and send and receive Christmas cards. During the year, we send out regular newsletters to patients and colleagues and December's newsletter has a festive photograph taken in the practice (pictured, below).

As a specialist referral practice, life becomes quieter over Christmas. Patients' treatments are planned so they don't need an appointment between 24 December and 2 January. It's time to catch up on admin.

We like to donate to charities which are close to the hearts of our patients. In 2014 we supported a patient who undertook the courageous task of rowing across the Indian Ocean in aid of Save the Elephants. For two months we donated to the cause every time a hygiene appointment was booked with us.

I like to spend time with my wife and children at any time of the year but especially Christmas. In the past I worked in a soup kitchen over Christmas and I found it very rewarding. This is something I have put on hold while my children are young.

By nature I am a ‘moderation’ person and don't have a sweet tooth. Like a lot of health professionals, I brought up my children so they had no exposure to sugar or sweet drinks while they were little. My eldest started school this year and confounded her teachers when she turned down a chocolate biscuit! I recently gave a talk at her school about good dental hygiene. My daughter only gave me eight out of ten as I failed to mention the Tooth Fairy!

Three of the team here took part in a Tough Mudders Event in the summer – they don't opt for a quiet life! Practice manager Carla told the story in our blog: http://preview.tinyurl.com/o5awhrj.

I am looking forward to doing more diagnostic work in 2015 and entrusting routine aspects of patient treatment to our new orthodontic therapist Fiona, who has recently joined the team. We are all having ongoing training in SureSmile, one of the newer systems we are using here.

To see all of the photos, please download the PDF.

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https://doi.org/10.1038/bdjteam.2014.131

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