We speak with inspirational hygienist from mydentist, Clare Road, Halifax - Farshea Khan

Interview with Farshea Khan an inspirational mydentist Hygienist

“My passion for a career in dentistry began at a very young age when I came into a regular contact with a myriad of dental professionals.  Born with a cleft lip and palate, I had experienced first-hand the benefits and positive life-changing interventions dentistry can offer. 

In 2006 I was granted a place on the bachelor’s degree in dentistry at the University of Leeds. However after one year I decided to withdraw from the course and concentrate on raising my daughter. I returned to university in 2012 and qualified as a dental hygienist and dental therapist with a Merit.” 

Looking back on her success so far, Farshea is a firm believer in putting the patient first, she says: “Having no previous hygienist at our practice, building my own patient base was a challenge. I found building rapport and gaining trust from the patient was key to getting them to come back. I empathise with each patient and understand that every one that walks through the practice door has a different a story (and mouth!). Simple communication and tailoring oral hygiene advice specifically to each individual patient motivates them to come back. Being gentle and positive has converted many patients’ views of the 'butcher hygienist' to a more positive outlook on preventative dentistry.

“Giving patients an informed choice of treatments is important. We offer a variety of schemes for hygiene treatments - in terms of number of visits, length of time seen by the hygienist and type of hygiene treatments offered. The recent roll out of the hygiene plan at mydentist has certainly increased my patient base, as patients now have an affordable option to pay for extra hygiene appointments.”  

Farshea, who works in a large mydentist practice on Clare Road, is thankful for having a committed team to work with every day: “Successful dentistry relies on effective teamwork. Maintaining a good relationship with the whole team including the dentists, dental nurses, receptionists and practice managers not only makes the working environment a happier place, but most importantly, it demonstrates that we all have a common interest at heart - our patients.” 

Despite only being qualified for a year, Farshea has seen a shift change in public attitudes towards visiting the hygienist: “The desire to see a hygienist has definitely increased over the years. People are more informed of oral diseases and they are willing to take the necessary steps to help prevent a disease from developing. Moreover, dental hygienists are becoming more accessible to patients with many practices having at least one hygienist. Patients are becoming aware that a hygienist can give their patients time that many dentists don't have. For this reason, on a national level oral hygiene has improved. The most recent dental health survey has revealed that the number of people with gum disease has reduced. Awareness of prevention with the help of the media and apps such as sugar smart are helping people to help themselves in preventing oral diseases.“

Farshea recently had a research piece on bee propolis published in the Annual Clinical Journal of Dental Health: “As part of my graduate diploma, I was given the task of conducting a research project on topic of complementary therapies in dentistry. Luckily, my mother was a complementary therapist, so I grew up relying on natural products rather than conventional products. When I was ill, honey was always a key healer.

At university we were taught that chlorhexidine and triclosan were the gold standards in improving plaque control and gingival health. However both were well known for side effects. I was interested in finding out if there was an alternative substance that was capable of improving gingival health but without the side effects.”  

Farshea’s practice has recently been rebranded to mydentist, which has made a positive impact on her job:  “The best thing about working for my dentist is the immense support provided not only by the practice team but those behind the scenes including the clinical support workers, private and specialist developers as well as the fantastic online academy accessible with courses for the whole dental team. I am proud to be a part of the mydentist brand!” 

Farshea, who loves spending time with her family, cooking and interior design, is focused on developing her career. Having only been qualified for a year, her main aim for 2016 is to develop her skills and further grow her patient base. She says:  “Every patient I see is unique and I learn something new with each one. In the future I hope to do more research in dentistry alongside practising and continuing to see my patients on regular, long term basis.”

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