Sunstar mingles entertaining options for in-office treatment and home care
Kathryn Kupczyk, RDH, BS, BSDH, and Jackie Sanders, RDH, MBA
What if you could implement a program in your office that not only makes oral hygiene fun for kids, but sends a consistent message from office visit to home care? With Sunstar Monsterz, you can. Sunstar Monsterz are chairside and take-home products that aim to focus on helping create fun pediatric patient appointments and build sustainable habits of good oral hygiene at an early age.
This new full product line supports the already-available GUM Monsterz toothbrushes in an all-inclusive pediatric dental experience that is both straightforward and enjoyable for dental professionals to utilize in any dental practice setting. Monsterz products work hand-in-hand to deliver continuity in memorable dental hygiene experiences that now can extend from the dental chair to home.
With one of the fastest growing population of dental patients being children, it is imperative that the dental team has the tools for nurturing successful early experiences. Sunstar has made it simple and fun to engage the pediatric patient in a way that has not been done before. The Monsterz characters (and their stories) can be a supportive resource to partner with dental professionals so that young patients will look forward to coming back for their next appointment. The empowerment of the pediatric patient, both in and out of the chair, allows for more successful outcomes in dental treatment and lifelong dental care.
Current trends in pediatrics
A child’s oral health is an essential component to their overall health and a determinant of their quality of life. In the last decade, the United States Surgeon General identified oral disease as a “silent epidemic,” especially among children and the elderly. Most oral disease is preventable. Through proper daily brushing and flossing, a balanced diet and simple preventatives such as fluoride, a child can grow up cavity free.1 Dental caries is the most common chronic disease of childhood with 25% of children aged 2-5 and 50% of children aged 12-15 diagnosed.2,3
Oral disease impacts systemic health, particularly for patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes.4 About 193,000 Americans under age 20 are estimated to have diagnosed diabetes; approximately 0.24% of the population. In 2011-2012 the annual incidence of diagnosed diabetes in youth was estimated at 17,900 with type 1 diabetes and 5,300 with type 2 diabetes.5 In 2013, the total cost of dental services in the U.S. reached $111 billion, with significant spending on restorative care for oral disease that could have been prevented or, if caught earlier, treated with lower-cost, lower-risk interventions.1
The “Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General” called for all health-care providers to participate in oral health care. Now is the opportunity for dental health-care providers to act and participate in education and building early dental health-care habits. The Monsterz full product line is an example of how pediatric-oriented products allows dental professionals in multiple settings to engage with younger patients. Education through an age-specific medium allows for understanding, empowering the pediatric patient, parents, or caregivers about the importance of oral health for a lifetime.
Empowering the Child
Empowering a young patient during their dental visits is fundamental to building trust and confidence in both their dental team and themselves. Offering guided choices is an essential way to empower a child, as it allows them to think and engage in the appointment and take ownership of their smile. Dental visits with an empowered pediatric patient are more successful for the dental team, patient, and parent and/or caretaker.
The Monsterz product line helps the registered dental hygienist to guide the patient and parent or caregiver through the following benefits:
- Pediatric products support establishing proper oral hygiene at an early age, building thoughts and habits that will define a lifetime of oral health.
- Pediatric products help to alleviate fear of going to the dentist. This is true for both the patient and the parent or caretaker, who may themselves have had troubled experiences at the dentist as a child and may fear the same fate for their own children or descendants.
- Pediatric products allows the dental hygienist to more easily build upon core procedures in the prophylaxis appointment in a fun way; setting up positive future appointments.
A calming dental visit for the parent or caregiver is the goal of all dental professionals. The Monsterz product line is the vehicle to deliver comprehensible communication and education on oral health. This allows for more effective communication, successful treatment outcomes, and a better forecast for future visits.
The Monsterz Experience
Monsterz chairside products offer color and flavor selections during the prophylaxis appointment. These guided choices enhance interaction with dental professionals providing a positive experience with chairside procedures, turning a dental visit filled with anxiety into a fun interactive experience for younger patients.
The Monsterz chairside feature four fun characters that provide a distinctive, holistic approach to helping dental professionals create an enjoyable pediatric care experience. Bringing smiles to a little patient in a big dental chair is the universal goal. For the dental hygienist, seeing pediatric patients can become stressful, since appointments may be structured for shorter amounts of time. They may only be successful if the child is relaxed, empowered, and comfortable.
Parents and caregivers will appreciate how the Monsterz experience can be used as a tool for oral hygiene instruction at home, and continued support in between recare appointments. The new characters, and their stories are unique to when they are at the dentist, and will make recare visits more exciting to look forward to.
The Monsterz characters aim to help create a pleasurable experience while visiting the dental office at an early age. Each colorful and unique character has been assigned a special mission and will assist dental professionals in delivering quality oral hygiene care and education while making the visit exciting for young patients and their parents or caregivers. The Sunstar Monsterz are Dino, Lily, Lenny, and Lola:
- Lilly is a pink-tooth princess who dances across the teeth, chasing away all the bad (plaque) monsters. Her mission is to use her special tools to remove plaque and keep teeth healthy.
- Lenny, armed with his colorful surfboard, surfs across the teeth, finding secret hiding places (hard to reach spaces) and keeps them clean and fresh. He knows that Lilly cannot always reach all of the plaque so he is always there to lend a helping hand. Big shiny smiles and healthy teeth and gums are very important to Lenny.
- Lola, a purple monster, sweeps away stains and the ever present “bugs” while tasting good and making the mouth feel clean and smooth. Her mission includes using her secret recipe to smooth the tooth’s surface and make it white and shiny. She keeps all kinds of different abrasive and cleaning items in her purse and is ready to go to work at any time! Her special recipe works extra hard to clean away stains and germs.
- Finally, the three-eyed Dino flexes his arm to show his toughness, and makes sure teeth stay strong and resilient to decay.
At the end of the appointment, the pediatric patient can take home their own Monsterz in the form of a toothbrush along with other fun activities to enhance the character’s story. Parents will enjoy access to the Monsterz webpage, an interactive website with educational tools to continue building upon oral hygiene and dental health under the fun Monsterz theme.
Monsterz in the Office
The Monsterz experience also bring a holistic approach to seeing pediatric patients in the office. The Monsterz product line includes the following in-office products:
- Monsterz prophy paste
- Slimmer prophy angles
- Flavorful fluoride varnish
Take-home products include choice of Monsterz toothbrushes in four different colors that resemble each of the Monsterz characters. For parents and caregivers, Monsterz oral health materials are available in print such as the toothbrush calendar and activity booklets. They can also access hands-on educational materials at the Monsterz webpage, which dental professionals can also use.
The toothbrushes feature soft, dome-trim bristles, and small head adapted for the child’s age. The suction cup at the base of the brush allows for easy and hygienic storage. A color guide on bristles of the brush makes it easy to apply the proper dose of toothpaste. The ergonomic shape and material of the brush handle is designed specifically for children to hold, adapt, and guide while brushing.
Monsterz prophy angles offer a slimmer, more contoured DPA housing. The soft, latex-free, and low-profile ribbed cup adapts to small contours. The Monsterz prophy angle flares effectively for gentle cleaning along gingival margin. A variety of four bright colors allows young patients to choose their own favorite color.
All three flavors of the Monsterz prophy pastes contain 1.23% fluoride and are certified gluten-free. Professionals receive the Monsterz prophy paste in a variety pack of three flavor choices: mint, cherry, and bubble gum. Monsterz prophy pastes are available in two grits, fine created with diatomaceous earth, and medium, a pumice based product.
The Monsterz fluoride varnish is a 5% NaF, and contains the recommended 22,600 ppm of fluoride for children. It applies smooth and clear in the varnish form that adheres during application. All three flavors of the Monsterz fluoride varnish are gluten-free and sweetened with xylitol. The variety pack contains 45 unit doses with 15 of each flavor—mint, cherry and strawberry.
Hygienists can spend more time with the pediatric patient in a positive light, and can obtain more successful treatment outcomes. Patients benefit from a more complete dental visit and better access to cleaning and care in their mouth. Parents and caregivers feel more confident and relaxed that their child is empowered and enjoying learning and cleaning their teeth both in the appointment and at home. The Monsterz program provides a developmental vehicle for communication and education with the pediatric patient and their parent or caregiver that spans the spectrum of pediatric dental care.
Kathryn Kupczyk, BS, BSDH, RDH, attended DePaul University and completed her bachelor of science degree in biology with a concentration in biotechnology. She has presented at several research symposiums in Chicago. Kathryn graduated from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry with a bachelor of dental hygiene degree. She is an active member of ADHA, a member of Sigma Pi Alpha, and is currently working full-time in private practice.
Jackie Sanders, RDH, MBA is manager of professional relations and communications for Sunstar. She serves as a liaison responsible for communications with professional and industry associations, educational institutions, and the dental professional community. She is a recognized and active opinion leader within the dental hygiene community and associated social networking programs. She serves on the ADEA Legislative Advisory Council, is a member of ADHA IOH Advisory Committee, and serves on several editorial advisory boards.
1. Oral Health: An Essential Component of Primary Care. June 2015. Qualis Health. http://www.aapd.org/assets/1/7/Qualis_White-Paper-Oral-Health-Primary-Care_2016.pdf
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Oral Health at a Glance: 2011. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pub no. C5217229-AK. 2011.
3. Institute of Medicine (IOM). 2011. Advancing Oral Health in America. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
4. Jeffcoat MK, Jeffcoat RL, Gladowski PA, Bramson JB, Blum JJ. Impact of periodontal therapy on general health evidence from insurance data for five systemic conditions. Am J Prev Med. 2014;47(2):166–174.