Shining examples in San Francisco

Dental Hygienists Imogen Wood, Lizzy Hudd, Joss Harding and Fariyal Khan met for the first time at the airport en route to San Francisco. They had exchanged a few brief whatsapp communications prior to travelling, after being presented with their ‘golden tickets’ to attend the California Dental Association Conference by Philips Oral Healthcare

Philips Oral Healthcare has been shining a light on the work of Dental Hygienists and Therapists and their commitment to improving patients’ oral care through its ‘Shine On’ initiative. A core element of the campaign was the chance to win a trip to the 2018 Dental Association Conference in San Francisco by sharing Shine On moments on social media, tagging their posts with #shineon and #philipssonicare.

Four of the many Dental Hygienists and Therapists who had shared their proudest careers initiatives were selected as the lucky recipients of a golden ticket to The 2018 California Dental Association Conference in San Francisco, in September 2018, courtesy of Philips Oral Healthcare.

The company launched the ‘Shine On’ campaign to highlight the inspirational work of some of the UK’s leading dental professionals, so underlining its strong commitment to improving patients’ oral health and care. It was also designed to empower and celebrate the considerable professional achievements of some of the unsung heroes of the sector. The Philips team were so impressed by the shining examples of the work carried out by Dental Hygienists and Therapists, who were keen to impart moments of their professional lives which not only meant a lot to them, but also could enthuse and inspire their peers.

The winning quartet who travelled to San Francisco in September comprised: Elizabeth Mary Hudd, Grants Dental Practice - Wiltshire; Imogen Wood, Whitehouse Dental Clinic - Richmond, Surrey; Fariyal Khan, Royal Preston Hospital - Preston; and Joss Harding, Confident Dental and Implant Clinic - Gloucestershire, who was also 2018 Hygienist of the Year.

The conference in San Francisco was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the four to see what their counterparts were doing, and what valuable initiatives could be taken back to the UK and applied in their practices.

All agreed that much of the lecture content was incredibly informative, although not all applicable in the UK as the States has different laws relating to licensing and insurance, placing Hygienists in a much stronger position than in the UK. The consensus was that their culture is very financially driven, and there were lectures devoted to taking a direct approach and selling techniques. Practical advice was also given on how to monitor spending, organise accounts, apply KPIs and manage the dental practice in a transactional set-up. Although all four agreed that the whole concept fundamentally differed from the one back home where a warmer and more collaborative approach is preferred, a number of initiatives could be used and adapted back in the UK, whilst appreciating that in the USA, practice has a sole private sector focus.

From a clinical perspective the quartet were pleased to attend lectures address key initiatives; from teaching scaling techniques which could minimise repetitive strain injuries and back problems, to facial reconstruction, cleft palate, rehabilitation and oral cancer.

All commented about how much they had learnt from one another by sharing their experiences and using the time away from the practices to take a real step back, review what they were doing at home and identify elements that could be improved. A ‘happiness and stress score’ initiative implemented at Imogen Wood’s practice was also discussed by all four with a view to replicating it in the other practices.

They were all unequivocally grateful that Philips Oral Healthcare had given them this opportunity to learn, share and to reflect. Lizzy Hudd noted how invigorated she felt on her return: Winning this competition was a life changing experience which happened at a pivotal moment in my life. I was honoured to meet like minded colleagues who I can now say are my friends. I also picked up so much useful information: At a clinical level, I learnt about early diagnosis of oral cancer and biopsy. I also gleaned strategies for use in private practice. On a practical level I brought back learnings about ways to enhance our website presence and how to optimise it on search engines”.

She added “I have re-instated the 10-minute morning staff huddle which had been superseded by ‘other’ priorities and the overall rush of the day in the practice. I have also come to appreciate that communication is prime for both patients and the members of the team.


All four agreed that the trip to San Francisco was not just about attending thought-provoking lectures, and an awe inspiring trade show or seeing new products, or even a trip to The Golden Gate Bridge, it was a great way to applaud the efforts of everyone who contributes to the profession and show a heartfelt appreciation of their hard work. However, exemplifying the modesty of many in the profession, all four winners Imogen, Lizzy, Joss and Fariyal said how utterly surprised they were to learn that they had won a ‘golden ticket’ to attend the 2018 Dental Association Conference, and expressed how immensely honoured they had been to have been chosen when so many of their peers could have easily been selected.

They now feel it is incumbent on them to pass on what they have learned. Imogen, Lizzy, Joss and Fariyal are meeting soon in Newcastle for a catch up. They have also reached out to associations and professionals they met at the Conference for further tips and advice. As Hygienist of the Year Joss Harding concluded “San Francisco was a fabulous opportunity to not only see an amazing city and enjoy the culture but also to share an experience with three remarkable women. We all took so many things away from this memorable trip, thanks to Philips, whether it was from the lectures, exhibition or each other. In dentistry you should never ever stop learning!”

A digital campaign hub - - features video testimonials, industry news, and educational resources exclusively for Dental Hygienists. For more information, please also visit

There are currently no comments

Please log in to leave comments

If you are not yet a member you can register here: Member Registration

{% endif %}