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    Compendium Supplement - Waterpik

    March 2009, Volume 30, Issue 1
    Published by AEGIS Communications


    Waterpik Dental Water Jet: Creating Value for Your Patients

    Roger P. Levin, DDS*

    There is a great deal of discussion in the business world today about how to create value for customers. The same question applies to dentistry. How do we create value for patients and differentiate our office as a high-quality, caring practice? While there are many ways to approach this question, it is often the overlooked areas that may provide the best answers. This article focuses on the value and benefits of the Waterpik® dental water jet (Water Pik, Inc, Ft. Collins, CO) for patients and practice.

    The Value of a Waterpik Dental Water Jet

    The Waterpik dental water jet is not a new item. Because it has been around for so many years, there is a tendency by some to overlook or to not understand the value of this device as an adjunct for oral home care. However, an increasing number of practices are recommending and dispensing the Waterpik dental water jet, based on the substantial evidence demonstrating excellent oral home care and creating added value for patients.

    You may be surprised to think of a Waterpik dental water jet as a way to add real value to your practice. After all, dentists think about adding value through new products, new services, or a host of other clever and glitzy ideas. While many of these may have a place in your practice, the Waterpik dental water jet is proving to be one of the strongest value-added tools for practices because it enhances both patient care and practice productivity in the ways discussed in this article.

    Improves Patient Health

    The research on the Waterpik dental water jet spans 45 years and demonstrates significant reductions in inflammation and infection. In addition, a new study has demonstrated significant biofilm removal.1 This information allows dentists and hygienists to engage in an entirely new level of conversation with patients. The discussion of periodontal disease, biofilm, and inflammation is of great interest to patients, especially in light of research linking periodontal disease to other systemic conditions, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. As soon as patients understand that untreated periodontal disease may have repercussions on their overall health, they become tremendously interested in the conversation. All of a sudden the Waterpik dental water jet comes across not as an established technology that has been in the consumer market for years, but rather a new way to create periodontal health, control biofilm, and re­duce the risk for infection as it relates to systemic disease.

    Demonstrates a Higher Level of Care

    Practices should provide patients more direction on home care. A dentist’s recommendations can have a real impact on improving a patient’s oral care regimen. In a world where most opinions are shaped by retail marketing, it is time that dental practices take a stand on what they believe. For­tunately, an increasing number of practices are not only emphatically recommending Waterpik dental water jet to patients for home care, but also dispensing dental water jets in unprecedented quantities. Some dentists feel uncomfortable with the idea of selling a product in their offices. But offering excellent home-care products at a reasonable (or reduced) price is viewed favorably by many patients because they can enhance their oral health without having to drive to a retail store.

    Practices that recommend and offer the Waterpik dental water jet for purchase in their offices are creating a greater sense of caring. It is one thing to simply tell patients that they should brush and clean interdentally every day. It is another to tell them specifically what type of brush, inter­dental aid, or other device they should be using. When this information is combined with educating patients on how Waterpik dental water jets remove and disrupt biofilm, the relationship between the practice and patients is greatly strengthened.

    While dentists have been recommending flossing for years, many patients do not follow through on this recommendation. For noncompliant patients, the Waterpik dental water jet is often the perfect solution because it allows them to achieve interdental care along with normal brushing.

    Increases Patient Retention

    Often, patient retention increases and no-shows and last-minute cancellations decline when the hygienist takes a strong role in educating patients and making recommendations for a specific home-care regimen. When patients understand that the hygiene appointment is not a cleaning, but a periodontal maintenance and oral cancer examination appointment, their sense of value for those appointments goes up. For example, many would never miss their annual physical, but would not think twice about giving up a dental appointment if “something else” came up. This type of mentality starts to change when the hygiene department enhances the level of value it provides. The home-care conversation, including the Waterpik dental water jet recast with new research and information, is an essential part of how patients view their hygiene visits.

    Increases Practice Production

    While dentists should only recommend or dispense products in which they truly believe, there is a financial benefit to using a dispensing system. An increasing number of practices dispense Waterpik dental water jets and use the additional revenue to fund continuing education, staff bonuses, retirement plans, or other practice investments. However you choose to use the revenue, practices need to augment their financial position, especially in today’s slow economy. Remember, it is not uncommon for physicians to sell products. Dermatologists sell a variety of skincare products and ophthalmology practices sell glasses. Why should dentistry be any different? Keep in mind that dentistry is a business. Practices, while providing the highest possible quality of patient care, need to achieve a certain level of profitability to reinvest in the office and generate income. Dentistry is more costly to provide than ever before, and any avenue that enhances patient health and quality of care should be considered.

    Ensures Better Home Care for Patients

    The Waterpik dental water jet is an excellent home-care tool for patients because it enhances the effectiveness of regular brushing. In addition, it can help patients with orthodontics, implants, and other dental appliances or restorative dentistry, greatly improving their at-home care. It allows patients to clean around hard-to-reach areas and is also beneficial for patients with diabetes or those who are in a periodontal maintenance program. Dentists do not want patients to receive orthodontic or cosmetic care and then end up with periodontal or other dental problems shortly thereafter. The proper home-care regimen helps all patients to maintain optimal oral health. For patients undergoing orthodontic or other specialized treatment, the Waterpik dental water jet may be one of the best ways to protect their investment for a more attractive smile.

    Conclusion

    The Waterpik dental water jet is an established product with a new face. The new research clearly indicates that it provides tremendous benefit by disrupting and reducing plaque biofilm. This research creates an opportunity to educate patients and impress upon them the need for office visits and streamlined oral home care. In addition, Waterpik dental water jets can contribute revenue to the practice while providing excellent quality of care, including helping patients maintain some of the more complex cases that dentistry is providing today.

    In a world of high technology, the Waterpik dental water jet is reemerging as one of the most beneficial technologies both for patients and the practice. Ultimately, this is what providing excellent dentistry is all about.

    Disclosure

    Water Pik, Inc is a corporate sponsor of Levin Group, Inc.

    Reference

    1. Gorur A, Lyle DM, Schaudinn C, Costerton JW. Biofilm removal with a dental water jet. Compend Contin Educ Dent. 2009;30(Suppl 1):1-6.


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