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16 Apr 2024

Introducing iTOP - transforming patient care

Introducing iTOP - transforming patient care

Now is the time to empower dental professionals with iTOP, a game-changer in oral health education, writes Diane Rochford, who will be presenting on this very topic at the British Dental Conference & Dentistry Show (BDCDS).

Diane Rochford is a dental hygienist and an active member of the BSDHT, serving in several roles since her qualification, including past President. Her contributions to the field of dental hygiene also include authoring articles for various dental publications and earning a BSc (Hons) in Dental Studies for Dental Care Professionals from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN).

As dental professionals, our commitment extends beyond treatment. It is also about educating and empowering our patients to take control of their own oral health.  

This is why I'm excited to present ‘An Introduction to iTOP’ at the upcoming Dental Hygienist & Therapist Symposium during the BDCDS on 18 May 2024.  

This session, scheduled at 4.30pm for 45 minutes, promises to be a deep dive into the iTOP (Individually Trained Oral Prophylaxis) philosophy — a preventive approach that has the potential to revolutionise patient care and oral health outcomes, as well as benefit all dental professionals both personally and professionally.  

An effective approach is crucial in tackling the widespread issues of dental caries and periodontal disease, which still affect a significant portion of the population world-wide.  

Indeed, according to the latest report of the Global Burden of Disease published in 2019 (GBD 2019), oral disorders, including dental caries, periodontitis, and tooth loss, affect more than 44.5% of the global population. 


Why iTOP? 

iTOP is more than a cutting-edge programme in prophylaxis. It is a philosophy that aligns perfectly with the latest guidance for dental professionals and emphasises the importance of effective, acceptable and non-traumatic techniques in oral hygiene, focusing on practical, hands-on training to master biofilm control.  

In addition, recognising that a universal solution is inadequate, iTOP promotes a personalised strategy designed to meet the unique needs of each patient. This bespoke approach significantly enhances positive oral health behaviours and habits, effectively preventing common oral diseases like dental caries and periodontal disease.  

For instance, iTOP’s T2T is a practical, hands-on approach to oral prophylaxis education. Short for ‘Touch to Teach’, T2T is exactly as it sounds - physically guiding a patient's hand to demonstrate proper oral hygiene techniques.   

By understanding and implementing the correct techniques for brushing teeth, dental professionals are better equipped to teach, encourage, and inspire their patients. 

The iTOP philosophy is essential for both the prevention and successful treatment of oral diseases, ensuring the longevity of therapeutic results.  


Empowering patients and professionals  

A key takeaway from iTOP is the empowerment of both patients and dental professionals.  

Benjamin Franklin once said, ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.’  

This philosophy is at the heart of iTOP, where involving patients in their oral health care, guiding them through hands-on practices, and encouraging questions, enables them to take ownership of their oral health.  

By adopting this approach, we not only improve patient outcomes but also enrich the professional lives of dental hygienists and dental therapists by embedding a preventive approach into their practice. 

It is therefore important to underscore the critical role of patient involvement and engagement in dental education and prevention, reinforcing the message that active participation is key to learning and adopting better oral health practices. 


The BDCDS has it all 

Beyond iTOP, the BDCDS offers an invaluable opportunity to engage with industry leaders, explore the latest in dental technology and treatments, and connect with peers. I am particularly looking forward to sharing insights and experiences, learning from other speakers, and visiting the trade stands to see the latest innovations in dental care. 





Tu C, Wang G, Hu Z, Wang S, Yan Q, Liu X. Burden of oral disorders, 1990-2019: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. Arch Med Sci. 2023 Jul 13; 19(4): 930-940 

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