Interview with Ziad Al Asali, General Manager of EMS Middle East, Africa and India
Prevention and the GBT protocol in corona times
“GBT practices stand for success, quality and patient satisfaction.”Ziad Al Asali, General Manager of EMS IMEA Region
Signs of a certain easing in the midst of the corona crisis are on the rise. Many practices are successively ramping up their operations, while others are even back to working at almost full capacity. We wanted to hear from Ziad Al Asali, General Manager of EMS IMEA Region. How can prevention look in corona times and in which ways does EMS supports its customers?
Mr. ASALI, the corona crisis has hit the entire sector hard, starting with dentists and laboratories, but also industry and trade. Particularly the area of prevention was the first to be identified as “dispensable” and shelved as “unnecessary treatment”. Can preventive treatments be dispensed with in the long term?
Ziad Al Asali: The importance of prevention has increased considerably during the corona crisis. This is not the time for us to revert to curative dentistry. Especially now, good oral hygiene and a healthy oral cavity is more important than ever. A healthy oral cavity is always a better immune barrier than a sick one.
There has never been dentistry without a risk of infection. Those who choose a dental profession work at close quarters with the oral cavity and are aware of the risk of infection. Since infection prevention measures have always been a matter of course in dentistry, it is no surprise that only a small number of infections in Wuhan occurred in dentistry. The existing standard measures for infection protection according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) guidelines form the basis for infection protection, especially oral antisepsis and correct suction. There is no comparative study showing any difference in aerosol formation between suction in four-handed and two-handed dentistry.
Personally, the following also annoys me in the discussion about the one-practitioner technique: Dental prevention assistants are pros – not amateurs. They are well trained and extremely experienced in dealing with infections and aerosols.
How do you perceive the reactions to the current situation among your customers in the practices and their patients?
The EMS brochure “COVID-19 – Aerosols at the Dentist” provides concise recommendations for dental practices. Download at emsdent.com/DZW0520
Concomitant dental diseases represent a further risk factor in the case of infection with the coronavirus.
Following the many contradictory statements about the nature and scope of dental treatments and their respective risk of infection, it is now becoming apparent that dentists as an occupational group have generally always acted professionally in dealing with aerosols. Given heightened hygiene and precaution, are preventive treatments also conceivable again in your opinion?
Ziad Al Asali: The reactions are extreme. Especially for practice owners, but also for their prevention staff, there is a considerable drop in income and earnings. For practice owners who are debt financed as a result of founding a new practice or expanding, a large chunk of their practice refinancing has collapsed. Without successful prevention work, the dental practice cannot survive.
What GBT pros say
To what extent can EMS support dentists and specialists in restarting the important field of prevention?
Ziad Al Asali: In the GBT protocol, one of the first measures is the patient gargling and mouth rinsing with CHX. Here we discovered that COVID-19 viruses are not reliably destroyed with CHX.
This is why we developed a new mouth rinsing solution, ViruProX, in our exclusive powder manufacturing plant, which we recommend alongside the current RKI guidelines. The main component of ViruProX is 1.5 percent H₂0₂.
Mr. ASALI, how does EMS support its GBT users beyond that?
Ziad Al Asali: In order to make our customers’ decision to return to GBT easier, we have worked with practitioners and scientists to develop a compact recommendation for dealing with aerosols containing COVID-19, which we are already communicating to our customers.
Mr. Asali, how do you see the “New Normal” in prevention?
Ziad Al Asali: For me, the “New Normal” in preventive dentistry is and remains EMS Guided Biofilm Therapy, supplemented by our recommendation arising from COVID-19 for dealing with aerosols at the dentist. In one sentence: GBT practices stand for success, quality and patient satisfaction.
Representative for the reactions of the users in prevention, here is a statement by Brigitte Schoeneich, graduate dental hygienist, longstanding president of the important Swiss Dental Hygienists Association, and GBT trainer:
“More than 50 percent of patients in our practice are canceling prevention appointments or requesting postponement. They only want to come back when GBT – Guided Biofilm Therapy – which is technologically based on Airflow and Piezon, is in use again. The patients consider regression into outdated methods of prevention with scratching and sanding as unpleasant and painful – and stay away.
Due to the restrictive guidelines, the quality of my work suffers enormously. I am no longer able to meet my claim to offer patients the best possible therapy. I even know colleagues who now refuse to work with hand instruments.”
Ziad Al Asali: Modern dentistry has never existed without aerosols. Over 90 percent of dental applications involve aerosols – turbines, high and low speed handpieces and contra-angles, multifunctional syringes, sonic, ultrasonic and powder-water jet devices. The recommendations from the professional organizations to avoid aerosol-generating applications only ever related to prevention; because a blanket ban (on aerosol-generating applications) would be tantamount to a ban on the profession.