If you’re a dental professional, it will serve you well to read this Hygiene Town article that recently caught our eye.
The article highlights the many positive features of air polishing and the fact that, despite scientific evidence demonstrating its value, it has yet to become widely accepted among many registered dental hygienists.
Air polishing has proven to be successful with plaque and stain removal. In fact, it’s shown to be three times faster than rubber cup polishing! So, why aren’t more of us using it?
The truth is that air polishing, for whatever reason, has been riddled with naysaying...and these myths are part of the reason it hasn’t seen widespread use.
Let’s look at the facts about air polishing!
This myth is based on what used to be the truth. In generations past, air polishers sprayed all over the place. However, in recent years, things have changed.
Older air polishing devices could only be used at full power. They also clogged too quickly, and many practitioners didn’t have the knowledge and experience to shield their patients from the abundance of overspray.
Nowadays, air polishers offer far more control and precision.
Similar to the above myth, the taste factor of air polishers did use to be a legitimate gripe of patients and hygienists alike.
Initially, the powder being used was a salty sodium bicarbonate that revolted both children and adults.
Fortunately, most models now include a non-sodium option.
There’s also a substance known as Sylc therapeutic prophy powder being utilized in air polishing systems. It’s a calcium sodium phosphosilicate or bioactive glass.
Although the Sylc does possess 450 mg sodium, this is far milder than the 2,000 to 3,000 mg found in a sodium bicarbonate—a staple of the old method.
Marilynn Rothen, MS, RDH, states that air polishing is superior to rubber cup polishing when cleaning the tooth surface before etching for sealant placement.
Further studies, however, indicate similar results between cleaning methods. Regardless, air polishing has never been proven to be less effective at cleaning teeth when compared to other treatments!
This myth, unlike a few of the other ones, isn’t rooted in facts at all. The reality is that this myth couldn’t be any further from the truth!
Air polishing will offer comfort to your patients with even the most sensitive teeth. It’s an extremely gentle method that necessitates no heat or pressure being placed on tooth surfaces.
Furthermore, due to the acclaimed gentleness of air polishing, it’s an ideal technique to use when cleaning around delicate implants.
Dental professionals perform an array of procedures, including air polishing, that requires hand tools that produce an influx of particles and splattering. They can contain microorganisms (aerosols) from the oral cavity of the patients, which are believed to possess bacteria and fungi. It’s feared that this can lead to cross-infection for dentists and dental hygienists.
Yes, you do have to adhere to prevention methods to keep safe—but it’s no different from any other treatment. Furthermore, studies have proven that aerosol exposure is not a significant occupational hazard.
Unfortunately, many dental professionals do consider air-polishing equipment to be too expensive.
But this assumption doesn’t consider the return on your investment.
Even if you’re paying for a more expensive polisher, your patients will appreciate the results and keep coming back to you as their trusted dentist or dental hygienist.
After debunking these myths, we hope that you’re more open to air polishing. It’s an undoubtedly affordable, safe, and effective teeth-cleaning method that will help your patients achieve optimal oral health!
It’s a fact: millennials are now the single biggest generation in both Canada and the U.S. There are over 83.1 million American millennials and about 10 million to the north.
So, why aren’t you seeing more of them in your practice?
You’re not alone if you’ve had difficulty bringing this generation of potential patients on board. Sure, you’ll see them in for the occasional extraction or filling...but when it’s time for a regular cleaning, millennials aren’t inclined to call back.
It’s not that Gen Y doesn’t want or need dental care ‒ but they often require a different tact than you’d take to recruit and retain your usual patients.
In a recent article for HygieneTown, RDH Katrina Sanders lays out a few of the things that make the millennial generation (people born between 1983 and 1997) different when it comes to their approach to dental care.
What does this all mean for you as a dental professional? Well, as Sanders explains, these tendencies affect Gen Y’s attitude about going to the dentist. Understanding these traits can go a long way in helping you attract more millennial patients and keep them coming back after the initial treatment!
Back in university or hygiene school, you might’ve learned to look at a patient’s involvement in their healthcare through scales like the Health Belief Model or Dental IQ.
But millennials don’t always fit the book.
Although they are often highly educated and concerned about their health, millennials are also notorious for scrutinizing the ins and outs of anything they spend their money on. They need to truly believe in what they’re ‘buying’, even when it comes to oral healthcare.
Involving these patients through a co-discovery process helps by making them part of the solution to their own dental needs.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a millennial who doesn’t carry a smartphone, but that doesn’t make it any easier to get in touch with these patients by phone. Why?
Truth is, phone calls are becoming a thing of the past. One survey showed that 80% of Generation Y would be willing to trade the ability to place phone calls for an unlimited data plan.
Further, 61% said they would consider switching dentists just for the ability to book appointments quickly.
In other words, it no longer makes sense to conduct your bookings solely over the phone! Millennials are busy, and so they’re not as willing to spend time tracking down your number or waiting on hold.
If you’re still only taking appointments by phone it’s time to start looking at ways to let patients book online.
Speaking of busy...research has shown that millennials place a lot of value on extended evening and weekend hours. In fact, nearly 40% say they’d keep coming back to a dentist who can offer those extended hours.
Unfortunately, many millennials simply don’t consider regular dental checkups or teeth cleanings worth missing a day of work. Taking time off is tricky when you’ve got multiple employers and family obligations packed into one schedule.
Any practice that can offer weekend or evening appointments has a huge advantage when it comes to winning over this generation of patients.
For better or worse, millennials are willing to shop around for a dentist, especially when they’re on a tight budget. As Sanders illustrates in her HygieneTown piece, most
millennials will respond to a proposed dental treatment in one of three ways:
Fact is, fewer millennials have insurance coverage than previous generations, and we know that those without insurance are more likely to avoid getting proper dental care due to cost. But if you can offer an alternative to paying out-of-pocket, it will win over millennials who are likely to become long-term patients and a great referral source.
But it’s not always an aversion to phone calls or dental bills that keeps millennials out of the chair.
Between a growing career, a young family and a world of constant distraction, sometimes dental care just falls off the radar.
This is where it helps to reach out to patients outside office hours. To start, following up after the appointment by text or email is an incredibly simple way to make a connection and remind them you care. You can continue fostering that connection via social media, sharing blogs, videos and resources.
Remember: millennials aren’t your enemy! They have all the same needs as your other patients, and they’re a valuable source of business ‒ especially as the older ones are settling down and starting families. A bit of flexibility on your part can go a long way in winning them over as dental patients.