Are you frustrated you can’t get the cool prophy paste or the newest tools into your office?
On this TIPisode Andrew talks to us about how you select your products, providing tips on how to evaluate, and get them into your office!
- Steps to Evaluating Products
- Andrew Talks Money
- GC America, Supporting Hygienists
Andrew’s TIPisode on sealants: https://www.ataleoftwohygienists.com/listen/tipisode-sealants-three-things-andrew-johnston-rdh-wants-you-to-know/
Fuji Triage: https://www.gcamerica.com/products/preventive/GC_Fuji_TRIAGE/
Fuji Triage EP: https://www.gcamerica.com/products/preventive/GC_Fuji_TRIAGE_EP/
Glass Ionomer Sealants https://www.gcamerica.com/products/operatory/GIRestoratives.php
MI Paste Family Products: https://www.gcamerica.com/products/preventive/MI_Paste_Plus/index.php
Tri Plaque ID Gel: https://www.gcamerica.com/products/preventive/GC_Tri_Plaque_ID/
This TIPisode has been transcribed for your viewing pleasure:
Michelle Strange: A Tale of Two Hygienists presents this week’s TIPisode: quick and easy tips to keep you up to date and presented by the experts in the profession. Now, get ready for your unofficial TIPisode, this week brought to you by GC America.
Andrew Johnston: Hello, everyone, and welcome back to this week’s TIPisode. My name is Andrew. You know, so many of these TIPisodes end up being tips about products, and it really got me thinking about you the clinician and the experiences that you go through whenever it’s time to reorder. It’s one of those things I really wish that we could have a back-and-forth conversation on because I would love to hear your feedback.
Here’s the question, though: It’s like how do you select a product to use in your office? You know, my guess is that it’s probably one of only a couple of scenarios because that’s what happens for most of us. One, you use what your office has always used, and you just make it work. I remember, you know, working in my first private practice office, and I open up the drawer, and I had just looked at these instruments that I was completely unfamiliar with, and I’m like, “What are these? And how do I even use them? These were not the things that I was taught in school, and they were not the things that I was using in my first office. And so everyone else is using it, so I guess I’m just going to go with it.”
You know, or maybe there’s another scenario, and that scenario is where, you know, the products and the instruments are changed out with routine based on whatever the dentist, the office manager, uh, maybe it’s a lead in the office who does the ordering — whoever does that ordering, they just go with whatever the best deal that they can get. Interestingly enough, this is the same, you know, first private practice office. They did some wild deal making. And I remember that, you know, one time there was this palate — I mean, multiple times there were palates, and I’m talking like legit, like, palates of gloves. Not a box that has the individual boxes within it. I’m talking a palate full of boxes and boxes and boxes that have the gloves inside the boxes. That’s a lot of the word “boxes.” Sorry about that.
So, to paint the picture for you just as, um — I don’t know. I think it’s really interesting. Maybe it’s not so much interesting. You know, this building that we were in, it was a two-level building. The top level was an office — and the doctor owned this whole property — but it was the office, and it was spacious. There was nine operatories, a huge waiting room, a large front office area, large area for the doctors, and in the waiting room, there was even an arcade room. It was awesome.
Now, the bottom level, though, was like most of our basements. You know, there was some framework that was up. Maybe some of the areas had some sheetrock. But it wasn’t — I mean, you could see from one end of the building to the next, and you could see all the wires hanging down, and some of the piping was exposed. Um, and it had that, you know — you guys are going to identify with this. It’s that damp, musty smell of a basement. And so in one of the rooms that was down there is where all the gloves would go, and so when the shipment was dropped off, it was so big it had to be unloaded outside, and then my job was to move them all in.
And it was — I mean, it was really an awesome situation, but this is the type of deal making that that particular office would do is they would buy in bulk, and they would get a huge discount because of it, and it would be delivered right to their door. It was interesting.
So, does that sound about right? I mean, not about the basement part obviously, but generally does that sound about how your office does the ordering? Because I want to tell you you have more options. And, you know, the goal today is I want to give you some tips about how to evaluate some products and really just giving you steps to take for getting either products into your office or doing the evaluation process.
So the first thing along that journey, though, is you have to take an inventory of all the instruments and all the products that you currently use. And I want you to think of everything from that ultrasonic that you use, um, the hygiene handpiece that is being sterilized between patients, right? Also, the patient glasses, which not very many of us think about the patient glasses. Um, I want you to think about the prophy paste, the prophy angles, varnish, sealant materials, etchant. Like, the XCPs. The sensor holders. The list goes on and on, but I want you to think of literally ever single product or instrument that you use on patients.
So the next step is to take a beat, and I want you to think about why are you using that product? And this is going to be in the broader sense. So, for example, if you’re using SDF, why are you using SDF? The answer is because you’re treating incipient lesions or decay. Another example would be, you know, 5000 parts per million fluoride take-home toothpaste. Why are you dispensing that in your office? Well, the patient has high caries risk, right? Sealants. Why are you doing that? To prevent decay. So I want you to think about each of those individual instruments or products in the broadest of sense.
Now that you’ve identified why you use a product category, I want you to now think about why you use that particular brand to achieve those results that you’re looking for. And there’s lots of reasons here, but I want you to think really critically about this because this right here is the juncture in which you need to take action. If it’s because of money and that’s why you use that brand or it’s just the thing that’s always been done and it’s always been ordered in your office, whatever that reason might be, I want you to ask yourself, “Is this a really a good reason [sic]?” How much do you actually know about that product? How much are you trained on it? Have you read the ingredients list? Did you attend an educational course about it? Have you read the instructions for use on it?
So I think one of the things that I forgot to list the beginning [sic] when I was — you know, the list of, like, why you use what you use, I think also sometimes it’s because we also don’t know any better, right? Maybe we haven’t been to a conference. But, if we had, maybe we didn’t get a chance to visit the exhibit hall floor. Or maybe we did but we didn’t interact with any of the venders. Or maybe we had a chance to interact with vendors, but that particular vendor wasn’t at that particular show. Maybe our reps didn’t — or maybe — and/or vendors at the shows didn’t have any samples for you to try. So, again, lots of reasons.
Now, we need to pause at this moment and take stock of where we’re at because if you have done all of those things that I listed and you have done your research and you’re active in learning about new products, then likely you have the things in your office that you need. And so the rest of this message might not be for you. But, if you aren’t as well informed and you’re honest with yourself about your level of understanding of all of these things, please keep listening because here are some things that I need you to be doing not only for you but also for your patients.
So, first on this list is I need you to get involved. You need to ask to be a part of the decision-making process for your office. Learn from them. Ask questions. Why are they doing what they’re doing? And make sure, also — like, I’ve — I don’t always ask that question the most tactfully, so make sure you have a lot more class and a lot more tact about that than I do when you’re asking questions about why they’re doing because if they don’t know the answer, then a lot of times they’re going to take that as you’re being aggressive towards them. So be kind and loving as you’re asking those questions.
Um, next. Go to the conferences like RDH Under One Roof. It’s coming up next month. Or ADHA, which as this episode airs, we are at ADHA in Phoenix. And we are there, so you should walk the exhibit hall floor, ask questions about the products, read the literature that’s provided about the products. You can ask them quite candidly what makes your varnish, your paste, your sealant material, et cetera better than the one that’s right over there, down the row, or you know, across the row, and get samples for your patients.
I also find it helpful to read RDH Magazine or your favorite dental publication. I mean, first read it because the content is good, but then go through it one more time afterwards and only look at the advertisements. Skip past all of the informational awesomeness that’s in there. Read the small print. Look at the larger print words. What is the messaging saying?
So let’s say that you found some high-quality instruments or products that you like clinically for your patients. All of the science and the evidence feels right for you and that you know it will be better for your patients if you make the switch. So the next thing to do if you have samples, you need to start using them and get feedback from your patients. If you don’t have samples, make sure you ask. There are plenty of samples that are out there, so either ask the dealers themselves, the dealer reps, whoever it ends up being that can supply you with those.
Let the patient know that you’re going to be trying a new product ahead of time and that you would like their honest opinion. If you do this before you begin, then you’re going to get a lot better feedback. If you ask them after the fact, a lot of times they’re going to say, “Oh, that’s fine. Oh, that’s just the same as it was before,” because they weren’t really paying attention. So make mental notes of their answers, and if you get the patient buy-in, then the rest of this is going to go a lot smoother also. But, if the patients don’t like the products, then we need to figure out a new tactic.
And I know many of you are like, “Okay, Andrew. Hurry up. Get to the money part,” because we know that, like, that’s always going to be a concern. There’s not enough money to buy the products that we need, right? Don’t worry. I’m getting to that in just a second. But I need you to understand that lots of things go into running a business, and the cost for every single item very much matters. So, while it might seem like 10 cents more per item isn’t that much, when you multiply that by the hundreds of items that we use to run in a dental office because remember it’s — maybe they’re a specialty there also, and there’s all the restorative aspects of it. It’s not just hygiene — then it really adds up, so you need to do your due diligence before you even approach the person that’s in charge of ordering and make sure you have the best prices listed.
And I will tell you now that the price that’s listed in your catalogs is not going to be the best price. It might take a little extra effort on your end to get that price down. You can always make phone calls, and you can see if you can get a better price. Ask your hygiene friends what they’re paying, and really go after it. Also, many times there are specials. This is particularly true for instruments. But there are specials and deals on the manufacturer’s website or at the conferences. So make sure you document these and present that as an option as well.
But no amount of saving 5 or 10 cents is going to trump the clinical outcomes. And I’m going to say that one more time. You need to understand this, and you need to be convincing later on with your — whoever does the ordering. There’s no amount of saving 5 or 10 cents that is going to trump the clinical outcomes. Obviously, I am a huge fan of GC’s Fuji Triage and Fuji Triage EP. I gave a whole TIPisode by the way about this a little while back, so I’ll link to that in the show notes if you haven’t heard that one. Um, I also did one for, um, Fuji Equia, so make sure that you are checking that one out as well.
But these products, specifically Fuji Triage, is just a touch more expensive than my regular sealant material, but the reason that I can justify the extra expense is because when I use it, I actually reduce my chair time. I can get a full mouth of sealants done and done very well in a fraction of the time that it would take me for a resin-based sealant. And, because I believe in the product, I know that I can get the patients to accept the treatment plan at a higher rate, which will generate more revenue for the practice. When you don’t really believe in the product, that’s the problem. And, if you don’t believe in the procedure, that’s the problem. Your patients can tell that, and there’s a much higher likelihood that you won’t even discuss those options for your patients if you don’t believe in them. So, if you know there’s a product or a procedure or an instrument that you really believe in, you’ll get the buy-in from your patients just from the confidence that is coming through from you.
Another note is that I also know that I won’t be repeating the procedure every time the patient comes in to redo the sealant, and so therefore there’s no wasted product. So, in the big, big picture, reduce chair time, which means I can do more procedures, and I’m not wasting any of the product in the subsequent months or years.
Business owners and managers do not always understand the clinical reasons that a product is better for a patient, and so it’s up to us to inform them of that. But then tie in the ways that will actually profit the business as well. Get me that new ultrasonic unit that’s a name brand instead of a cheap unit that’s going to consistently need repair, new inserts, and it’s going to end up creating a longer appointment times [sic] and redo some of the work because the unit itself doesn’t work as well. Get me flavors that a patient will be excited about and will remember from visit to visit. That helps with patient retention, and patient retention is the backbone of every practice.
You guys, I can go on and on, but I think you’ve had enough I think for one TIPisode. Uh, hopefully these tips will get you a little bit closer to your goal of getting that right product in your hands. If you want a list of some of my favorite products, you can send me an email to email@example.com. Also, let me know what product you’re looking at. I’ll be happy to give you my opinion. As always, if you have experienced this topic and have been successful, drop me a line. Let me know what your results have been and how you got there so we can put that in a future episode. Remember, this is all about helping all of us learn together.
Thanks so much for listening. Be sure to check out the show notes, and have a great weekend.
Michelle Strange: Thanks for listening to another TIPisode, and thank you to GC America for sponsoring this week’s episode. You can find out more about their great products at gcamerica.com.
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