5 Game-Changing Products in Dentistry
an event, idea, or procedure that affects a significant shift in the current manner of doing or thinking about something.
“A potential game-changer that could revitalize the dental profession”
When the term “game-changer” first appeared in newspapers, they were referring to influential and momentous sports plays. Innovative ideas and technological advances have brought the same caliber of decisive change to our profession. In this article, I will attempt to highlight five game-changing products and concepts that are elevating our professional game.
- Virtual Patient Advocate
The concept of the virtual patient advocate is a relatively new brainchild. While patient advocates have been around for years, the virtual advocate focuses on building an emotional connection as a strategy to grow your business. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, “The New Science of Customer Emotions”, there is a science to harnessing consumer emotion and creating or building a brand that speaks to that emotion. As consumers respond to emotional connections, they exhibit an increasing connection to the brand. The result is intense loyalty.
Emotional connections matter even more in patient care. When faced with medical or dental procedures, patients feel vulnerable. Establishing an emotional connection assures the patient that it is safe to move forward with the next steps.
With patient value estimated at approximately $8000-$10,000 over ten years, it is easy to discern why this initial emotional connection is vital to practice growth. In light of recent changes brought about by Covid, virtual patient advocates set the emotional tone by establishing a rapport, verifying benefits, walking patients through various financing options, and allaying fears prior to visiting the brick and mortar building.
Michael Davidson RDH BSDH used his clinical experience and dental knowledge to create a manual toothbrush that simplifies and guides brushing, from the patient’s perspective. The Grippi, if used correctly, ensures effective brushing via the proven Bass toothbrushing technique. He knew that gum disease was preventable when home care was performed correctly, so he set out to create a brush that not only reinforced effective brushing but overrides muscle memory and ineffective brushing habits, held over from childhood.
His goal was to create a toothbrush that:
- Ensured use of the Bass toothbrushing technique
- Provide user feedback to allow for proper brush placement
- Clean into the sulcus
- Be comfortable to use: soft bristles, ergonomic handle, slip-resistant
- Retail for under $10
- Have a built-in educational component
Electric toothbrushes have been touted as most effective, yet estimates state 88% of the population still uses a manual brush. Having recently used the brush and subjected it to my critical professional scrutiny, I’d say he nailed it.
- Hygenius Face Shield
Covid threw us some significant curveballs, and one of the chief complaints heard from medical professionals was the additional cumbersome PPE. While struggling with the addition of overgowns, N95 masks, and head coverings, hygienists and dentists still needed to utilize the equipment they relied on to perform their jobs effectively. Not to mention, in the early days of Covid, PPE shortages inhibited access to face shields at all.
While face shields have been around for years, they were heavy and left users with headaches or neck and shoulder strain. Additionally, most did not accommodate loupes and the attached light, without obstruction.
They say necessity is the mother of invention. Creator, Brandee Rogers RDH was determined to find a practical solution to this problem. She chronicled her journey of making a face shield that was lightweight, wipeable for disinfection, non-obstructive, compatible with loupes and a light, affordable, and practical. Behold, the Hygenius face shield was born. Hygenius epitomizes creation birthed out of need.
The clip-on shield offers an additional 5” of face and neck coverage; more than any other clip-on shield. The clips open twice as wide as other clip-on shields. This allows shields to be worn with a variety of dental loupe frames, regardless of frame thickness.
Brandee’s website states, she is dedicated to “making this new normal more comfortable” to those who care for and comfort others. The reviews from satisfied fellow professionals speak to her successful problem-solving skills.
- Anywhere, Anytime
Sensitive teeth are an ongoing problem. In fact, some estimates state as many as 52% of patients in general dental practices suffer from one or more areas of sensitivity. Anywhere Anytime is a serum that provides immediate relief after simple application to the affected area. The Colgate product contains arginine, an amino acid that occurs naturally in the saliva. The combination of arginine and calcium carbonate creates a compound that occludes the open dentinal tubules.
It can be used before dental treatment or post-operatively following scaling and root planing. The product is dispensed in a small tube and it does not lose its effectiveness upon opening the package. Patients can utilize the remaining product at home, should post-treatment sensitivity occur.
While the desensitizing effect is felt immediately, its residual effect lasts for an average of 28 days. However, many report sustained desensitization for much longer.
Anywhere Anytime serum can be billed through insurance using the billing code 9910, or added to the patient treatment fee. Either way, patients gladly value it for its sustained sensitivity relief.
This is another one of those necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention-ideas. Professions such as veterinary medicine, nail technicians, tattoo artists, and dentistry have a higher incidence of hand fatigue and carpal tunnel syndrome due to the repetitious nature of their craft.
Founder and inventor, Debi Dencek BS RDH CEAS RYT is considered an ergonomic authority. She is committed to helping professionals practice and prioritize proper ergonomics, to avoid work-related injuries.
CordEze is a fully autoclavable wristband that comes in a variety of colors and comfortably attaches the cavitron cord to your wrist. It was designed to alleviate the weight associated with cord drag from regular use of corded handpieces, suction, and cavitrons. The simple and lightweight wristband redistributes the cord weight from the fingers to the larger muscles of the hand and arm.
Like the Post-it note, you’ll find it useful every day, and one of the most practical devices you’ve ever used. Considering the handiest inventions, you’ll ask yourself, “How did I ever work without this.“ and “Gee, why didn’t I think of that?”
Stephanie Baker, RDH BS is a coach, consultant, speaker, writer, business owner (Volume 52), singer, and a Registered Dental Hygienist. She is affectionately known as The Singing Hygienist. Her clinical and support team experiences are the inspiration for her writing and the motivation for coaching clients to success. She is a regular contributor to various publications within dentistry and beyond. In addition to feeding the homeless, starting a non-profit, and being involved in her church and other community organizations, she sings professionally and enjoys several creative outlets. She resides in Florida where she enjoys the company of her husband, three children, and four beautiful grandchildren.