« The well-being of my patients is crucial. »
Margaux Tournier, dental hygienist
Margaux Tournier has been a dental hygienist at the Sonnex clinic in Grand-Saconnex for 10 years. She holds a diploma from the Geneva School of Dental Hygiene and had already completed her final-year training at Smile and Care in 2013.
What do you like most about your job?
It’s undeniably the personal contact because my patients’ wellbeing is paramount. A patient’s oral health is linked to their general health, and that’s what makes my role useful. I like people to feel good, both in terms of hygiene and aesthetics.
In your opinion, what qualities are needed to do this job well?
Precision, listening, caring, and a touch of perfectionism (smile). The hygienist’s personality goes a long way, especially with anxious patients. I enjoy being able to give them advice.
Do you have many anxious patients?
Yes, and their fears are mostly due to bad experiences. Nowadays, our approach is patient-focused, and our ability to know how to behave is crucial for the patient’s wellbeing. You have to be alert to the slightest sign of pain. Some patients ask for a local anaesthetic before treatment. Since I was recently trained in local anaesthesia (in Geneva), I can do this.
Is scaling as important for children as it is for adults?
It is indeed just as important! To create habits, it’s important for children to learn about dental hygiene as early as possible. Sometimes, scaling can be done as early as 2 years old, on baby teeth, when there is significant tartar, or when parents are unable to clean the child’s mouth. We take the opportunity to show parents the right steps and give them advice on prophylaxis (hygiene, diet). Not treating baby teeth has an impact on permanent teeth. I recommend once-yearly scaling from 6 years of age, at the same time as the dental check-up. How long it lasts depends on the young patient’s dental hygiene, diet, and the amount of tartar build-up.
How is scaling done differently with children?
The approach is clearly more playful: everything is explained and shown, including the plaque staining exercise.
What general dental hygiene problems are the most common?
There are no general problems in this field, which is what makes it exciting! We deal with multifactorial problems. Dental hygiene affects everything: the patient’s overall lifestyle, diet, medication, brushing techniques, and profession. Each patient is different and requires a personalised approach and examination.
As dental hygienists, we play a crucial role in prevention. In general, the patient comes to see the hygienist and we refer them to the specialists who can deal with their pathology: periodontist, pedodontist, etc.
Is there a link between a patient’s general health and their oral health?
Yes – and this link goes both ways. For example, dental hygiene and controlling diabetes go hand in hand. The same stands true for inflammatory or autoimmune diseases. This is where our advisory role comes into its own. When the first signs of pain appear, it is often too late. Our profession is about prevention and maintenance.
What technical developments are there in improving oral hygiene?
The electric toothbrush is often recommended as part of hygiene protocols. Indeed, it enables thorough brushing and is useful in the event of problems with arthritis. It is not, however, suitable for everyone – especially those with very sensitive or thin gums.
What’s the miracle solution for keeping a perfect smile?
Brush 3 times a day with fluoride toothpaste and use an interdental tool at least once a day. Sugar consumption and snacking should be avoided, and regular check-ups – at least once a year – should be done by a dental hygienist.
Is there an ideal time to brush your teeth?
If there is a time to remember, it’s in the evening, when all the plaque that has accumulated during the day is removed. Two good brushings a day are essential: in the morning and in the evening. If you don’t have time at lunchtime, a fluoride mouthwash can help.
What do you say to someone who doesn’t dare do dental scaling because their gums are sore?
Nowadays, there are many ways to avoid pain. At Smile and Care, we don’t treat patients who are experiencing pain – it’s unthinkable. There are dental desensitisers and local anaesthetics that alleviate this problem.
To know everything about dental scaling, click on this link!
DENTAL TECHNOLOGIES FOR YOUR COMFORT
Dentistry is a constantly evolving field, with new technologies constantly being offered to professionals in the field. At Smile and Care, we are committed to ensuring that our patients receive accurate diagnoses, efficient care, and comfort at every stage of the treatment plan.
1. TV screens ensuring comfort and detailed care
Lying in armchairs that ensure their maximum comfort, our patients can watch a film or a series during dental care or learn more about the treatment being given as the latter can also be projected on the screen.
2. The 3D scanner: ideal for digital dental impressions
The 3D intra-oral scanner creates a digital 3D image of your teeth, which then enables the laboratory to create computer-generated dental prostheses (aligners, veneers, crowns, and bridges). This intra-oral scanner is a real diagnostic and digital impression tool.
Discover the 3D scanner in detail on this link.
3. Promax 3D: an ultra-accurate 3D scanner with maximum comfort
Equipped with a touch-screen, this 3D dental imaging machine is fast and ensures that our patients stay relaxed, comfortable, and do not feel claustrophobic. A relaxed patient guarantees better-quality imaging. This high-tech device meets a multitude of diagnostic needs, namely: endodontics, periodontics, orthodontics, or implantology.
More information on this technology on this link.
4. The Sopro intra-oral camera, ideal for detecting caries
Now a world standard in high-resolution imaging, this camera opens up new possibilities for diagnosing caries and for periodontal treatment. The camera instantly highlights caries, plaque, and gum inflammation. This new instrument enables us to do a complete and rapid assessment of your oral health. The camera has the SOPRO patent based on fluorescence.
Find out more about the intra-oral camera on this link.
5. Airflow: the latest prevention and treatment technology for the removal of biofilm, stains, and tartar
Made in Switzerland and developed in the Nyon-based EMS research centre, it guarantees Swiss precision. Dedicated to gum treatments and handled by the Smile and Care periodontal specialist, it guarantees maximum oral hygiene. In supra- and sub-gingival use, the device effectively removes bacterial film and recently-formed stains, offering patients exceptional comfort.
Discover the Airflow technology on this link.
6. Quicksleeper, for painless anaesthesia
Fear of pain affects a large share of our patients – and children are no exception. To avoid painful anaesthesia, our pedodontists use a painless, localised, and effective anaesthetic technique called Quicksleeper. Throughout the treatment, the dental assistant ensures the wellbeing of the child and the parents.
Thanks to this solution, the fear of injections is over! This transcortical anaesthesia technique allows for a painless and highly localised injection. As a result, the child’s lip or tongue will not be numb, thus avoiding accidental biting or the discomfort caused by a classic anaesthetic. Presented in the form of a magic pen, the child will not be afraid of the injection.
Find out more about the Quicksleeper use in providing special care to children on this link.
7. A state-of-the-art microscope for excellent dentistry
The M320D dental microscope provides optimal visualisation of both surgical and non-surgical dental treatments. Endodontics, periodontics, and implantology are performed with high precision, and treatment results are optimised. The microscope also allows the 4K images to be shown to the patient live or via video. Treatment options are therefore discussed in an informative and simple way. The treatment of caries, root canals, prosthetic work, and all fine surgery are therefore greatly facilitated, and the results obtained greatly increased.
All sterilisation processes are approved by the Federal Office of Public Health and apply the Federal Act on Medicinal Products and Medical Devices of 15 December 2000, as well as the Medical Devices Ordinance (MedDO, or ODim in French) of 17 October 2001. We ensure the full traceability of the sterilisation process.
“At Smile and Care, dentists and dental assistants always prioritise dialogue to find solutions together.”
Julia Orteza, Head Dental Assistant
Julia Orteza is the Head Dental Assistant at Smile and Care Eaux-Vives. Born in the Philippines, she came to Switzerland at the age of nine as her father worked with the United Nations in Geneva. She shares with us her motivation for her job.
What are the tasks of a dental assistant?
I assist the dentists in their treatments, sterilize the instruments, greet patients, and deal with administration. My role is often to soothe the patients as soon as they arrive (smile). Not everyone likes going to the dentist. I’m there to listen to them and help them relax.
You are Head Dental Assistant. What are your responsibilities?
I supervise two certified dental assistants and two apprentices. I manage the scheduling and team organisation. While every doctor has an assistant, we have a flexible work dynamic. A dental assistant can work with all the dentists – except for surgical dentistry, which is more specific. I also place orders for dental supplies. I was previously in charge of the Smile and Care centre in Grand-Saconnex in Sonnex, where there is a pool of six dental assistants.
You’re now based at the Smile and Care centre in Eaux-Vives. Was this a big change for you?
I was of course happy to join the new centre in Eaux-Vives; the equipment is new and high-tech, it’s bright and easily accessible. But the team spirit remains the same, and I really like my job for that reason. We are versatile and flexible, and really work as a team. I make sure that my colleagues feel supported during the holidays, and we find solutions with my colleague Allison in Sonnex.
What was your background before Smile and Care?
After the “Cycle d’Orientation”*, I attended a business school for a year, but it just wasn’t for me. I like the field; I like working more manually. I love handling dental instruments! In my family, many of us work in the area of personal care. I was then able to do a pre-apprenticeship in a dental clinic, followed by a three-year apprenticeship. I specialised in orthodontic care.
I was then lucky enough to join the Smile and Care team, which offers me the variety I seek. At Smile and Care, people are important: we’re not guided by volume, but by quality. We are neither big nor small: we’re just the right size.
What did you gain from this training?
I have to admit that when I was younger, I was really shy. This job has helped me to open up to others, to speak with patients – be they adults or children. It’s been a real path of personal growth.
What do you like most about your job?
The variety, definitely! No two days are alike. And the contact with the patients, of course! We form a harmonious team that enjoys working together, and we always prefer dialogue as a way to finding solutions together.
What qualities do you think are essential for a Head Dental Assistant?
You have to be able to handle stress well, find quick solutions, and listen to patients, doctors, and assistants. Punctuality is also a prerequisite.
What types of dental care or techniques do you prefer to perform?
I have a soft spot for orthodontic care, as I enjoy working with children and young adults. After three years of experience and training in orthodontics, I’m now very familiar with the instruments, products, and techniques. Orthodontics is an exciting field!
Before or after a dental treatment, what exchanges do you have with dentists?
Before greeting a patient, we look over their file together, and the dentist explains what’ll be done during the appointment. And most of the time, we also debrief afterwards, so as to anticipate future consultations.
How do you see your professional development?
I would like to stay at Smile and Care for several years, because I love the team – whether it grows or stays as is. I’m happy to get up and go to work every morning!
*The “Cycle d’Orientation” (CO) is the first part of the secondary education system in place in the cantons of Geneva, Fribourg, and Valais. It is divided into three years (9th – 11th) and marks the end of compulsory schooling at about 15-16 years of age.
« Every patient is unique. »
Dr Karim Abdelghafar, dentist at Smile and Care
Dr Karim Abdelghafar is open about his passion for dentistry. With a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) degree from the University of Geneva, he shares his thoughts on his profession. Interview.
Why did you choose to go into dentistry?
Dentistry combines science, people, and manual skills. Every patient is a new challenge for me, and every day, I’m filled with gratitude for – and joy from – practicing this profession. In fact, I’ve made this choice twice in my career (smiles): the first time was when I was studying dentistry at Cairo University, where I did a Master’s degree in Oral Pathology, a specialty dealing with oral tumours.
Then in 2015, I moved to Geneva for family reasons. While I could have chosen another professional field, I opted instead to redo the entire dental training course at the Geneva School of Dental Medicine, earning my federal diploma in 2019. In addition to working as a dentist at Smile and Care, I am also a lecturer at the University of Geneva where I am doing a doctoral degree in conservative dental treatments; these consist in removing any caries while preserving as much healthy dental material as possible.
What kind of treatments do you offer?
I am a General Dentist. I provide general dental care, ranging from cavity treatment to more aesthetic care requiring fixed or removable prostheses, to pedodontics (paediatric dental treatment), or endodontics (root canal treatment). The majority of treatments are aesthetic ones. Replacing old fillings with resin composites, for example, can improve a patient’s oral health while offering a more aesthetic result.
In your opinion, what qualities are necessary to do this job well?
Swiss dentistry follows quality guidelines, and protocols are rigorously followed. One must be meticulous and have a lot of patience because each patient is unique. To understand the problem and bring the appropriate solution, thorough analysis is crucial. Obviously, scientific knowledge is essential – the patient has to feel that the treatment plan we’re offering is the most reliable and the best-suited to his situation. Pedagogy and empathy are also essential when it comes to explaining things to patients in simple terms. Indeed, my job is to make my patients understand that ‘giving a smile back’ isn’t just a slogan!
Is your job different during dental emergencies?
Whether during the week or at the weekend, emergency care aims to make a diagnosis and – mainly – manage pain and infection. We have to be fast, efficient. Each patient is a new challenge, and there’s no advance planning! Managing these situations requires experience, concentration, and meticulousness.
Can you think of a patient who presented a particular challenge for you?
Yes, absolutely! On Christmas Eve, a patient came to the Eaux-Vives centre. In her late sixties, she had somewhat neglected her dental care and urgently needed a repair on her removable prosthesis. Smile and Care has been collaborating for many years now with the Allinlab laboratory; I contacted them immediately to discuss the patient’s situation. We communicated very well – and in fact, this is something that isn’t often discussed: communication between a dentist and the laboratory is crucial! Together, we were able to find a temporary solution for the holiday season.
After the holidays, I fitted her with a permanent prosthesis. She cried about it, telling me she felt highly confident in our work and her treatment plan. Following this episode, I’ve watched how this patient – who returns regularly for check-ups – has gained confidence, both personally and professionally.
What about technology, how does it influence treatment?
The intraoral scanner is clearly a technological advance. Today, progress in dentistry is just amazing, and enables greater precision. That said, a tool is only as good as the practitioner using it!
What are your professional development goals?
I’ll have finished by doctorate in two years’ time. I believe a good dentist should share with his or her peers and colleagues. Our practice is multidisciplinary; it’s by sharing that we develop our knowledge. Our model is based on excellence in care, materials, and communication between specialists. We find the best solutions together.
“Our job is a form of craftsmanship: we have to master the technical skills and be creative.”
Dr Maria Bilinska, Dentist at Smile and Care
From a very young age, Maria Bilinska dreamed of becoming a dentist. An old diary – found years later – bears witness to this. What she loves most about her job is the contact with patients and the ability to offer highly technical solutions in their treatments. This specialist joined the Smile and Care team at Eaux-Vives a year ago, and her enthusiasm is clear. Interview.
What do you like most about your job?
Being able to support patients in their treatments while working in a pleasant environment. Dentistry gives me a sense of accomplishment by truly listening to my patients. Our job is a form of craftsmanship: we have to master the technical skills and be creative. I feel like I’ve found my calling.
In your view, what qualities are necessary for doing this job well?
Working as a dentist requires solid theoretical training, excellent dexterity, concentration, and precision. The human element is fundamental: showing patience and tact is crucial for easing patient anxieties, as is giving detailed explanations of the reasons for – and course of – the treatment plan. Fear of the dentist – the avoidance of dental care – can have devastating consequences on a patient’s overall health. Our role is both educational and medical. It’s also important to be curious, as the medical profession is constantly evolving; indeed, we have to undergo training throughout our careers.
What types of treatments do you provide?
As a general dentist, my role is to assess oral health, carry out examinations, treat cavities, fix broken teeth, treat infected roots, and offer prosthetic solutions (onlays, crowns, bridges, implant-supported prostheses, removable prostheses…), but also to carry out simple extractions in the event of significant tooth damage. If the treatment plan requires a more specific technique – orthodontics, surgery, or periodontics – I refer my patients to a specialist within our dental clinic.
Give us an idea about a particular technical case…
Occasionally, patients can present real challenges. It’s important to support them with adopting new lifestyle habits and to help them understand that some of their habits are bad for their health – here, I’m referring in particular to tobacco, sugary drinks, or issues with bruxism. We offer a range of solutions, in collaboration with other medical specialists – osteopaths, nutritionists, etc. Dentistry is a very holistic discipline.
You regularly hold interdisciplinary sessions with other Smile and Care specialists. How are these exchanges beneficial?
Every treatment plan needs to be taken as a whole and involve all the practitioners (general dentist, orthodontist, periodontal specialist, implant specialist, etc.) During the interdisciplinary sessions, we discuss any anatomical and medical considerations, and examine the occlusion and potential limitations in order to provide highly personalised treatments that are adapted to each patient’s circumstances.
Smile and Care regularly invests in technological innovation. Which instruments do you use the most?
Without a doubt, the digital scanner is an indispensable tool. It allows us to scan and send dental impressions directly to the lab, to show patients 3D scans, and improve workspace ergonomics. Making dental impressions using intraoral scan is also much more comfortable for the patients than the classic dental impression paste.
What are your professional development goals?
I want to stay abreast of technical and scientific innovations, as these are constantly evolving. To continue being an excellent dentist, I want to maintain my training, document my work, and develop.
What advice would you give a youngster who is starting out or who would like to practice your profession?
Find mentors in the profession and be sure that they are people who aren’t afraid to tell you the truth, because those who only tell you what you want to hear won’t help you develop. Keep your ego in check. Don’t forget that you’re there for the patients, and not the other way around. I would also add that teamwork, in an environment of mutual understanding and respect, is crucial.
 Bruxism is the involuntary and habitual grinding of the teeth, typically during sleep (Source: OED).
“Personalised follow-up of an orthodontic treatment is essential. Like my patients, I look forward to monitoring their progress.”
Dr Caroline De Carvalho, Orthodontist at Smile and Care
Holding a postgraduate degree in Orthodontics, Doctor Caroline de Carvalho is passionate about her profession. As meticulous as she is gentle, she divides her time between the Smile and Care dental centres of Eaux-Vives and Grand-Saconnex. Interview.
What do you like most about your job?
I’ve always been dedicated to working with children. Before becoming a dentist, I wanted to be a paediatrician! Then, as part of my studies and my first professional experiences, I learned a lot about dental development in children. I then did a postgraduate degree in Orthodontics, which – today – allows me to combine working with children and orthodontics. My mission as an orthodontist is broader, too, as I enjoy encouraging them to adopt healthy dental hygiene habits over the long term.
In your opinion, what qualities are needed to do this job well?
Above all, it’s important to know how to manage the patient’s patience – as opposed to their impatience. Orthodontic treatment is often long, with results sometimes taking time. An essential quality also lies in seeking perfection and being attentive to the smallest of details. For this, precision, listening, and empathy are crucial qualities in guiding the patient towards the best treatment choice. I would also add that it’s important to know how to educate – be this for adults or children.
What type of orthodontics do you use with children?
I practice so-called “interceptive orthodontics”, which looks at preparing the mouth for the future adult teeth. In child orthodontics, interceptive treatment is the first level of correction. With the help of easy-to-use devices, the various jaw issues can be solved in advance. A child can start treatment as of 8 years of age, thereby reducing future treatments that might have to be done. The benefits are undeniable.
And with adults?
Adults are increasingly resorting to orthodontics, especially to treat the aesthetics of their teeth. An invisible orthodontic technique – Invisalign – enables the realignment of teeth without having to resort to the more visible treatments such as braces. More and more adults are coming to us for this type of treatment.
What are your professional development goals?
I get regular training on the Invisalign techniques, as the aligners offered are advancing apace with new technologies. Treatment plans in child orthodontics are also evolving; I get regular training in this area as well.
So, Invisalign avoids using braces?
Yes, today 50% of our treatments are done using the Invisalign technique, and 50% are with standard braces. Invisalign allows extremely precise control since a software enables the constant adaptation of the treatment. However, Invisalign does require patient discipline in wearing the aligners. But if they follow the instructions, the results are there. There’s also a digital app which now makes it possible to follow the treatment and communication with the patient. Follow-up is provided for both the patient and the orthodontist. That said, in-person orthodontic monitoring is extremely important, even when the process is digitized.
AIRFLOW® Prophylaxis Master is EMS Dental’s latest innovation. Manufactured in Switzerland and developed in the EMS Research Centre in Nyon, it guarantees Swiss precision. Dedicated to gum treatments, handled by Smile & Care’s periodontal specialist, it guarantees maximum oral hygiene.
A unique solution
The AIRFLOW® Prophylaxis Master has undergone over 100,000 hours of technical and clinical testing in collaboration with dental professionals worldwide. The device’s design allows for intensive professional use but simple maintenance and offers the user unparalleled ergonomics and precision levels. The highest levels of oral hygiene are now easily possible. The AIRFLOW® Prophylaxis Master was designed with the aim of meeting the highest standards of performance, safety, and comfort.
The benefits for the Smile & Care patient
The device effectively eliminates biofilm*, stains, and young calculus in supra- and subgingival application by offering the patient the highest level of comfort, all while significantly reducing the need for manual and ultrasonic instrumentation.
Good news! Rubber cups and polishing pastes are now a thing of the past!
The PIEZON® with NO-PAIN technology and its Perio Slim (PS) instruments enable the elimination of residual calculus in a painless and minimally invasive way where necessary. Irrigation temperatures are regulated and activated with a wireless foot pedal.
*Biofilm: Biofilm on teeth can cause greater problems. This coating makes you sick if it is not properly removed or if its layered structure is not broken up. It all starts with the formation of the acquired film; consisting of proteins and other components of saliva, this ultrafine deposit is deposited in the space of a few hours on freshly cleaned teeth. The film is friendly. In principle, it is valuable, because – as an initial oral biofilm – it protects tooth enamel while chewing or when there is friction between the teeth.
Over time, however, friend can become foe. Why? Because bacteria quickly colonises this film, with a first layer of dental plaque beginning to form.
How does it work?
Discover this innovation in pictures
Our priority at Smile and Care is to guarantee the comfort of our patients with state-of-the-art equipment.
The latest major advance in dental care is the integration of digital technology at every stage thereof. Always seeking to make the latest technologies available to our patients, Smile and Care now offers an intra-oral scanning system.
The intra-oral 3D scanner creates a 3D digital image of the teeth, which then allows the laboratory to create computer-generated dental prostheses (dental trays, veneers, crowns, and bridges). The 3D scanner’s accuracy is to the tune of a few hundredths of a millimetre.
Undeniable patient comfort
This intra-oral scanner is a true diagnostic and digital tool for dental impressions.
- A joint diagnosis – together with the patient – through 3D visualisation on a display
- The rapid creation of computer-generated dental impressions that are more accurate than those taken using dental impression paste in the mouth.
- Digital files to be sent to the laboratory for computer-generation of the future dental prostheses (transparent trays, veneers, surgical templates, crowns, and dental bridges…).
A unique treatment experience that promotes patient involvement
This innovative technology provides an ideal communication platform between the dentist and the patient. In addition, the true-colour prints are fast, accurate, and easy to take. It also facilitates the provision of information on oral health and proposed treatment plans.
On-screen presentation allows visual communication with the patient.
- Time-savings: appointment times are reduced
- Greater comfort compared to conventional impressions
- Quality communication with the patient is ensured
- Superior digital impression
- 3D computer design
- A metal-free and aesthetically pleasing dental restoration
- Greater health safety thanks to digital impressions
At Smile and Care, our quest for innovation is ongoing and we are proud to be able to offer this state-of-the-art product to our patients.