Sheri's Solutions: Power brushes can increase dental investment

2013 08 14 15 37 19 36 Doniger Sheri 2013 200

"How do you convince your patients to use a power brush?" The answer is as simple as two words: dental investment.

Sheri B. Doniger, DDS.Sheri B. Doniger, DDS.
Sheri B. Doniger, DDS.

As I was trained as a hygienist before I earned my dental degree, I was a huge fan of manual toothbrushes. I was instructed in using a flat bristle brush, with a specific diameter soft bristle, directing those bristles into the sulcus at a 45° angle.

At that time, power brushes were more of an oral hygiene instrument for those who had dexterity challenges because of a physical or mental condition, or those with orthodontics. Interestingly, some practitioners still carry over the same practices and think about power brushes for those who can't properly manage a manual toothbrush.

This is not the case. There are two types of patients who benefit from using a power tooth brush: the preventive patient and the restorative patient. Yes, that just about covers our entire practice.

Think about it: Unless they have a pain episode, we see our patients twice a year. Two days out of 365 days a year. These visits are probably not memorable enough to leave a lasting impression on their brains, unless we diagnose some restorative needs.

These patients would benefit from a power brush to better maintain their oral conditions and remove the biofilm that will build up within moments of their departure from our preventive treatment chair. A patient who has invested a huge amount of time and money in achieving a good level of oral health, not only with basic restorations but with implants, is a perfect candidate for power brushes.

It is important to remember that dentistry is painful to patients, not only in their mouths but in their wallets. The majorities of patients do not floss, or if they do, they may not floss correctly. Using a power brush will help reduce the bioburden on their teeth and help in reducing recurrent decay.

What about ages? Any age! Power brushes, both oscillating and sonic, are now being made for even the smallest hands. Get them interested in brushing right at an early age and it will last a lifetime.

The short answer may be as easy as a coupon. Some offices will sell these brushes, and some will give printed directions of several brands to choose from at their local vendors. We help patients find the brushes with either manufacturer coupons or ones found online. It is our belief that the coupon may give the patient an extra incentive to purchase a power brush.

For example, I recently had a patient who was interested in a power brush. After some online checking, we found the particular sonic brush available she had wanted, and she had a 30% off coupon -- a definite incentive. After all the dentistry she had undertaken, she wanted something to protect her investment.

With these brushes, as with any manual brush, we always remind patients to change out the head every three months. Something to keep us more memorable during the 181.5 days between preventive visits!

Sheri B. Doniger, DDS, practices clinical dentistry in Lincolnwood, IL. She is currently vice president and president-elect of the American Association of Women Dentists and editor of the American Association of Women Dentists "Chronicle" newsletter. She has served as an educator in several dental and dental hygiene programs, has been a consultant for a major dental benefits company, and has written for several dental publications. You can reach her at [email protected].

Page 1 of 68
Next Page