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High-Tech Engagement: Sonicare technology, app boosts patient awareness of oral health

Aug. 23, 2016
Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected is an intuitive power brush that helps coach users to better oral health routines.

By Teresa Duncan, MS

The Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected features Smart Sensor technology.

The icon for the Philips app.

As every dental hygienist knows, educating patients is more involved than simply demonstrating the newest gadget. Sure, we love to see innovation in dentistry, especially a truly integrated Bluetooth connected toothbrush. But the impact is most powerful when patients learn from oral health care providers about new and highly recommended products capable of modifying brushing behaviors.

From my experience, consumers are usually attracted to products that either make life easier or have a "wow factor." I know it's difficult for dental professionals to understand, but the average shopper isn't easily excited by teeth. While that is bizarre to you and me, it is reality!

So how do we capture patients' attention? We connect in a multitude of ways; the front desk integrates automatic patient reminder programs into the phone system. The practice utilizes text messages, emails, and newsletters to share information and keep our concern for patients' dental health top of mind. Our teams take courses to better craft in-person and telephone communications that are caring, concise, and compassionate. Clinicians thoroughly review medical and dental chart details prior to treatment and spend quality one-on-one time to continuously educate and serve.

Patients are impressed by how much we pay attention to detail, so the old saying of "no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care" has never been more applicable in dentistry. The objective to merge health care with incredible customer service while enhancing oral and overall health brings successful treatment full circle; while capturing patient attention.

Patient care is, of course, highly individualized. While we continually position every recare appointment to include a refreshed patient assessment and updated diagnosis, our success is often measured by how well we listen and observe patient behaviors. For instance, an older male patient who returns to the practice every four months for periodontal maintenance states he is brushing as recommended. Yes, it is disheartening to sense his disappointment when bleeding persists during an examination, and obviously he is frustrated. Logical deduction concludes something has to change in his oral care habits to keep him motivated and involved in his ongoing progress, or his condition will continue to deteriorate.

Clinical observations show his brushing technique is missing key areas in his mouth. Thankfully, advancements in toothbrush design invented to help patients identify any brushing shortcomings so they can modify their behaviors are available now. Dental professionals have the opportunity to educate patients on how they can track their home care improvements directly from a connected brush. Think about this; it's an educator's dream to demonstrate a visual interpretation of a patient's tracked brushing habits. Viola! You have innovation providing ease in identifying missed brushing areas and that helpful "wow" factor of high tech to create behavioral change.

The technology advises patients about brushing habits.

Regardless of age, all patients can benefit from digital reinforcement of positive habits. In this day of people's affection and powerful attachment to their personal cell phones, Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected is an intuitive power brush like no other that helps coach users to better oral care routines. In combination with the Philips Sonicare App, this brush has:

  • Smart Sensor technology where location, pressure, and brushing sensors track patients' brushing in real-time to improve technique and coverage
  • 3-D mouth-map technology to provide post-brushing analysis (including differentiation of facial from lingual areas) to help patients focus on trouble areas
  • A personalized touch-up feature to encourage patients to brush missed areas for a more thorough clean

Enlisting new technology to delight and re-engage our patients helps us capture their attention to show just how much we advocate for their health. As mentioned earlier, using every tool in our arsenal to connect with and "wow" our patients is all part of the individualized educational success we strive to achieve on a daily basis. I suggest you personally try the new Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum Connected brush and recommend it to stimulate and inspire your patients to make a positive difference in their oral health. RDH

Teresa Duncan, MS, is an international speaker who focuses on management issues. Her memberships include the National Speakers Association and the Academy of Dental Management Consultants. She holds a master's degree in health-care management and has achieved Fellowship in the American Association of Dental Office Management.