Th Recommend Lik 01

Recommend … like a pro

Aug. 1, 2009
An important part of the hygienist-patient relationship is when the hygienist recommends products.
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by Karen Kaiser, RDH
[email protected]

An important part of the hygienist-patient relationship is when the hygienist recommends products. A confident, professional recommendation will make a big impression on a patient’s compliance and implementation of a helpful home care regimen. A weak-willed discussion of a product will prompt the patient to believe your recommendation is simply a suggestion. Attaining a high standard of care comes from knowing that the products you recommend elevate your patients’ well-being.

Parents routinely ask the hygienist’s advice regarding which over-the-counter products are best for their children. In kids’ toothpaste, tasty flavor is a big requirement. After all, the paste must be a palate pleaser for kids to brush regularly. Cavity-fighting formulas are necessary to combat children’s sugary diets. Another benefit is a paste that is tooth targeted with acid attack in mind. Unfortunately, many children’s diets are inundated with acidic fruits, juices, and soda that demineralize tooth structure. GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Sensodyne brand for sensitivity relief, has introduced child-friendly daily use paste — Pronamel for kids six years and above — in a gentle mint flavor. Also available for adults is Pronamel in a mint essence flavor.

Patients with sensitivity rely on the professional hygiene recommendation for relief. Sensitivity protection may be applied at the dental office during the polish. ProClude by Colgate Pharmaceuticals is a unique desensitizing prophy paste for root sensitivity relief needed after scaling and planing therapy. This paste actively uses SensiStat, a complex of slow dissolving calcium carbonate and arginine bicarbonate (an adhering amino acid found in saliva). SensiStat binds to tooth structure and slowly dissolves, releasing calcium that becomes available for remineralization. Since gum recession and subsequent root surface exposure are common with periodontal disease, a therapeutic polish may be just the relief periodontal patients will find pleasing. For continued root sensitivity relief, Sunstar offers professionally applied Protect desensitizing solution. The noncure, temporary varnish blocks hypersensitive tubules through an immediate onset of action.

Discuss with your patients why you choose a specific prophy paste. Pastes such as Enamel Pro by Premier deliver ACP (calcium and phosphate ions) combined with fluoride fill for surface defects that need remineralization during professional polishing. With an appealing look, taste, and smell, patients will repeatedly choose this paste. During use, I have discovered at the gingival margin that a slight coating of residual benefits remains. The advantageous uptake of the paste’s remineralizing ingredients occur within 30 seconds of contact, so a timely rinse is key.

Apply remineralizing pastes with Pac-Dent’s new Pro-Angle ERGO. These disposable angles are angled with clinician wrist comfort in mind. Hygienists will find a reduced heat build-up and vibration by design. When interproximal polish is a challenge, try the AllPro Company pointed polisher for between-teeth access. This disposable polisher offers a soft green point to polish with interproximal ease.

Patients with partials, night appliances, dentures, and retainers want to know how to keep their removable appliances fresh and often ask for professional recommendations. Pro Clean by Premier offers an effective and safe way to process dental appliances. First, the appliance is ultrasonically cleaned using the Pro Clean product in-office, then a box of the cleaner can be sent home with the patient. Pleasantly scented, the soak works to remove bacteria and stain without aggressive brushing, which can cause wear and create areas for bacteria to harbor.

Patients are receptive to professional product recommendations when the hygienist is knowledgeable about the product and its beneficial active ingredients, indications for use, and positive clinical experiences. Act like the pro you know you are!

The author did not receive compensation for products mentioned.

About the Author

Karen Kaiser, RDH, graduated from St. Louis’ Forest Park dental hygiene program in 1994 and currently practices at the Center for Contemporary Dentistry in Columbia, Ill. She has written several articles for RDH and other publications, sits on dental hygiene panels, and is an evaluator for Clinical Research Associates. She can be contacted at [email protected].