I often get asked by my patients, “why did you want to be a hygienist?”. So I thought about it and here are my reasons.
My favourite subject at school was always biology. I originally thought I’d be a Nurse like my mum. But all my school life I wanted to join the police force, so I joined the police cadets at sixteen, then the special constabulary at nineteen for two years. It was then that I realised that it’s wasn’t for me.
My first job from leaving school was a dental nurse and I loved it. My boss, at the time asked why I didn’t go and train to become a dental hygienist. So I went to the Eastman Dental Institute and qualified in 1995.
I love my job. Everyday is different. The interest comes from the fact that the needs and desires of every patient differs, so my approach is always varied.
I enjoy the challenge of motivating my patients. To make small changes in their daily routine that make huge differences. I find it so satisfying providing patients with a gentle but thorough clean leaving them feeling refreshed and healthy.
I enjoy the skill my job entails, the precision of effective calculus and plaque removal using an array of different shaped scalers.
The job can, at times, be quite stressful with the time pressures and the intense concentration that is required for many hours in such a small area. But generally my days are full of wonderful people, all very different, with whom I build such a rapport, I never get bored.
As long as my hands keep working I will carry on saving people’s teeth through up to date advice, hard work and motivation. Motivation is key.
I constantly read many dental publications and attend workshops and training courses to make sure I’m carrying out my job to the best of my ability.
Every so often, you meet what I refer to as ‘stand-out’ people.
Jaspal Sandhu is one of them.
You already know I’m sure about the many awards he’s received. What you may not know is that Jas truly leverages his giving so that his team AND his patients are involved in making a difference too.
We’re so thrilled to have Jas and the High Street Dental team as part of B1G1. Through this platform alone, Jas has given:
2,500 square meters of rainforest protection
1,330 people access to clean water for a day
1,014 people medical support for one day and ……
1,000 dollars to support NGO’s activities
But even more than that, Jas has personally encouraged other members of the profession to do the same. He’s a stunning example of leadership in action and leadership with enormous compassion.
We’re thrilled we know him.
I love the outdoor life, and I love keeping fit, so when I can, I try and mix the two together.
Recently I have discovered wild swimming. It was mentioned to me by a good friend of mine, and I thought why not!!
I’ve never really been a fan of swimming, especially in leisure pools, so the idea of swimming outdoors in rivers, lakes and the open sea appealed to me, and you don’t have to ever worry about bleary stinging chlorine eyes ever again!!
There’s nothing quite like the freedom of a huge expanse of water. The water is bracing at first, and obviously most of the year you will need to wear a wetsuit, and if you want to continue all year around, boots, socks, gloves and hats!! (all available in wetsuit material of course).
The great thing I that it’s FREE!! It’s therapeutic, it washes away (no pun intended!) all the stresses and strains of daily life. Gliding through that open water, you look around you and take in that natural beauty around you. You feel invigorated, happy, healthy and full of life.
I recommend it, so go on find your inner spirit and give it a go, what have you got to lose.
Look up www.wildswimming.com to find out about magical locations across the UK and beyond. Life is what you make it after all!
Cancer. Why is it that so many of us dare even speaking this word aloud? It’s almost as if we think that we’ll become a victim if we say it. After all, cancer is NOT contagious.*
Perhaps it should be referred to as ‘The Disease That Shall Not Be Named.’
The good news. Cancer detection is improving all the time. Treatments have advanced so much that many forms of cancer, which would once have considered to be fatal, can now be treated, with very high survival rates.
But what about mouth cancer. Here are some facts:
This year, 6000 people in the UK will be diagnosed with mouth cancer.
Without early detection, half will die.
Mouth cancers often don’t present with any symptoms at early stages.
But, early detection improves survival chances to 90%.
As dentists, we are ideally suited to screen for signs of mouth cancer. We perform a full screen on all of our members at regular intervals. And the even better news is that we have now invested in a Velscope early detection tool.
The Velscope system has been officially recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as an innovative device that addresses global health concerns and is the only dental product recognised.
With a Velscope, a blue light fluoresces the tissues of your mouth which allows us to see diseases not visible with the naked eye. It helps us to discover oral diseases before they can be seen under normal light.
There are no rinses or dyes involved. The whole procedure only takes a few minutes.
So, from now on, we will be using the Velscope regularly for our practice members.
But, what if you’re not a member? Just give us a call and we’ll happily give your mouth a full screen for the signs of any disease, including cancer. We can give you dietary advice and brochures with much more information about the causes of mouth cancer and how best to try to minimise the risks.
And how much will this cost? Nothing! This one’s on us. Of course, if you want to, you can donate to the charities that we are currently supporting.
The Story Behind WellWishers
I have been asked many times over the years, how did WellWishers come about?
I believe we have certain values “inside” us and all it needs is an event to expose them. My Dad died in 1996 and the following year, I walked the Kokoda Track in PNG in his memory, he being there during WW2. It was the most difficult thing – physically & emotionally – I’ve ever done, but also very rewarding. It brought out dormant feelings of social injustice in the world.
Back in Australia, I suggested to Marianne that we should start to divest our assets, for the benefit of others. She wholeheartedly agreed. I firmly believe these assets should be used to assist those in the world with little or nothing, to help provide for themselves.
For us, it’s more important than leaving our assets to our children or family. It’s not their money, nor do they need their lifestyles enhanced at the expense of those who do not even have basic rights, such as clean water or education. We feel that philosophy will ultimately benefit them, as people.
Searching for an organsiation to work with, we settled on Community Aid Abroad (CAA – now Oxfam Australia). CAA presented us with several projects for our consideration; all were very worthwhile, but none ‘pressed the right buttons’. Our requirements were simple – the project must save lives and be of benefit to women & children. Eventually, a proposal for the construction of water wells in Ethiopia’s Tigray province arrived. It took about 5 minutes to realise that this was the one. A Eureka moment! That was 10 years ago.
Good Weekend, Sydney Morning Herald January. 2008
We funded 9 wells in 2002. In 2004, we rallied some friends to help. I became impatient at the slow progress in getting clean water to the people, so in 2006, I decided to build a mailing list. It initially started at 150 to 200 friends, family & colleagues (it’s 1,500 today).
Meanwhile, in 2005, we took the challenging decision to do our best to replace Oxfam Australia who had stopped funding the construction of water wells in Ethiopia. There was (and still is) a tremendous personal connection between Ethiopia and Australia that goes back to the 1970s and 80s, during the struggle against the oppressive Communist regime. We wanted to maintain that connection.
In 2007, WellWishers became a registered Charitable Trust and last year, we became a tax-deductible organsiation in our own right. We are proud of what’s been achieved in the past 10 years but this could never have been done without your support – the supporters of WellWishers. One person (you!) can and has made a difference.
The future? To see that everyone in Tigray has access to the most basic of human rights – clean water. After that, we shall move onto other areas.
Our philosophy is not everyone’s cup of tea, but we have no regrets in dedicating our time and assets to this cause. Our children don’t “need” the money, are not automatically entitled to it and they have been given opportunities that many in the world can only dream of.. It’s a quirk of fate that we were born in our rich countries and that our fellow human beings were born into such abject poverty in Ethiopia, over which – like us – they had no control.
It is for this purpose that Marianne and I have dedicated our assets.
“Not just the cleaning lady”
There are many people who avoid seeing the hygienist as they find it a rather painful experience and often feel like they’re being told off!!
Here at the high street dental practice, we endeavour to provide a thorough but gentle clean, and treat our members how we’d like to be treated ourselves.
Gone are the days of being lectured at. It’s important to us to find out what’s important to you, and what YOU want to get out of your visits to the hygienist.
No longer is a “scale and polish” just a cosmetic procedure. There are now strong links between gum disease, diabetes and heart disease.
Bleeding gums are the first sign of trouble and shouldn’t be ignored. Bleeding is a sign of an underlying chronic infection or inflammation, it’s your body showing you that there is something is wrong.
If your gums bleed when you clean your teeth, then please come in and see one of our hygienists. We can work together on providing you with an oral care routine that is convenient and suits YOU.
So no lectures….. I promise!!!
Hope to see you soon
Hygienist at The High Street Dental Practice
Hi, I’m Jas Sandhu from the High Street Dental Practice.
For the last 25 years and counting, dentistry has been my vocation. I also have an avocation, which is to do things that matter. For the causes I believe in, for my family and for myself.
We have a saying at our practice which goes like this:
“Be true to our members, our community and ourselves”.
The way we do this is to focus on time and communication. Firstly, time. Whether you’re calling us on the phone or you’ve come in to see us, we do not rush you and we don’t rush ourselves. And secondly, communication: we listen – we don’t interrupt. We also explain exactly what treatment you may require and answer what we consider to be three of the most important questions:
Will it hurt?
How much will it cost? And
How long will it take?
Of course, there are others, and we make sure that we address them all. After all, the fewer unanswered questions there are, the more relaxed you’re likely to feel.
So, if you were to ask us why we do what we do, the answer is:
By looking after your mouths, we want to leave you, our members, feeling better about yourselves. Because that’s what makes us feel better.
We’re really fortunate to get lots of nice testimonials, and I’m really grateful for every one of them. But I have a favourite. It’s from a girl called Abigail who was about 14 at the time. Abbie had seeing us for about 4 years and she was very, very nervous to start with. But, whenever she needed any treatment, we took our time. Always making sure to explain what we were doing and letting her know that she was always in control. If she wanted me to stop, I’d stop! And, slowly but surely, her confidence grew. Eventually, she even had her teeth straightened by Alex Cash, our orthodontist. Now she now looks forward to coming to see us.
What she wrote was: “they make you smile”.
And that’s what we really want to do. Spread smiles.
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