Dr Michel Souccar – No Spittoon interview


Since the Covid-19 pandemic here at Dental News we have been hearing more about clinics choosing equipment without dental spittoons to improve hygiene and reduce cross infection risk. We visited Dr Michel Souccar in Beirut to understand why he chose to work in this way.

Dental News:

‘Dr. Michel Souccar, good morning, we are now in your clinic in Beirut where you have been practicing dentistry for 47 years, since 1975. What brought me to your dental office is my curiosity to hear from you your experience practicing dentistry on a dental chair without spittoon. I understand that both you and your wife Dr Aimée practice in this way.’

Dr. Michel Souccar:

‘When we first began work as fresh graduates we quickly abandoned using spittoons. We did not like the view of the saliva mixed with blood spinning in the spittoon. To us, we always felt that this was unhygienic and unpleasant for patients. Particularly when the patient is anesthetized, he may not have full control over his lips and consequently, he will lose some liquids while spitting that will drip and contaminate the floor and the chair, etc…’

Dental News:

‘So how do you help patients who need to clean their mouths due to a bad taste or debris from treatment?’

Dr. Michel Souccar:

‘When a patient needs to spit and empty his mouth, he closes his mouth on the suction canula and this simple procedure empties his mouth from any liquid and non liquid residue. We can also use the 3:1 syringe to help clean the mouth for the patient. We have a saliva ejector and high volume suction on our chairs. This is much more efficient that using a spittoon’

‘We find that patients are very happy with this process. Sometimes after scaling or powder jet a patient may rinse at the end of the treatment in the lavatory room. This allows us to prepare for the next treatment and saves the patient’s embarrassment by spitting in the spittoon.’

‘I must say that simply washing the mouth with the 3:1 syringe and using suction is enough to clean the mouth after the dental work for nearly all patients.’

Dental News:

‘Did you ever regret not having a spittoon?’

Dr. Michel Souccar:

‘I never felt the need to use the spittoon or the cuspidor in my office. On the contrary, I removed the spittoon to improve hygiene. The act of spitting in the cuspidor creates cross-contamination risks, especially when the saliva mixed with blood splashes over the surfaces.’

‘I also feel that patients can use a spittoon to ‘escape’ treatment or ‘la fuite au crachoir’ in French. This unnecessarily extends and delays treatment. When the spittoon is removed so is the temptation for patients to use it to interrupt treatment. This makes our treatments much more efficient!’

Dental News:

Are your patients satisfied without a spittoon?

Dr. Michel Souccar:

Until now, we have more than 10,000 patient files/records, not a single patient has complained. If a patient asks to spit, we guide them to use the suction. It really is as simple as that. We have very happy and satisfied patients and a more hygienic office.

Nick Olive is the A-dec Territory Manager for the Middle East and Egypt. Nick has written about this way of working for Dental News previously so we asked him how he sees the adoption of this way of working in the region.

‘Working without a cuspidor is already the predominant way of working for our customers in the markets such as the USA and France. Since the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen a big increase in other markets such as the UK where this way of working has become very popular. The standard way to equip Dental Universities in the USA and France for example is without spittoons. The number one reason we hear for this is to improve hygiene in the clinics’.

‘More locally we have recently seen two new clinics in Dubai chose to equip their chair packages without spittoons as a way to improve hygiene and efficiency. We also have some exciting projects in the pipeline including dental universities who are looking to move towards this spittoon free USA style of working. I was recently talking to a prestigious clinic in Saudi Arabia who have kept their spittoons covered and out of use since the pandemic as a way to improve hygiene. The feedback from dentists in this clinic has been really positive. I certainly expect the trend to equip dental chairs without spittoons to continue to grow in the region as it has in other European and American markets.’

To discover more about how to work without a spittoon and explore equipment options in more detail you can contact Nick Olive.

Nick Olive
Territory Manager Middle East & Egypt
A-dec +971 585931983

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