Premium power toothbrushes today are packed with technology designed to help patients optimise the effectiveness of their daily oral hygiene routine.
Timers, pressure sensors, smartphone connectivity, different brushing modes, a variety of brush heads and a range of mechanisms for delivering feedback allow for a truly individual experience.
However, as many oral health educators know, sometimes the human touch is required, both to introduce patients to these marvellous inventions and, despite all the innovative technology on hand, ensure their technique is correct so that they function in unison with the device.
Recognising this problem, Oral-B has created a world first Test Drive Power Brush Trial Program. Now available to practitioners around the country, there is absolutely no cost to participate in this innovative way to help educate patients on the benefits of using a power toothbrush.
"Patients who use power brushes consistently achieve better oral hygiene between recalls," said Tina Borg, a Dental Hygienist at Dental Excellence in Sydney's Castle Hill. "But sometimes that effectiveness is hampered by poor technique.
"Up until now, we've tried to use a manual brush during the hygiene appointment to try and explain to patients how to angle their power brush for best results, but it was never ideal.
"So I love the idea of the Oral-B Test Drive program; we were all very excited and had wanted a program like this for a long time. We had patients who really struggled with their power brush and we would ask them to bring it in at their next appointment, but they would forget. So the Test Drive is a Godsend."
To facilitate the Test Drive and ensure it is completely safe for patients and practitioners, Oral-B has developed a special version of its flagship Triumph 5000 SmartGuide power brush together with a triple protection hygiene protocol.
A specially-designed protective sleeve has been developed for the handle that works in combination with a new disposable brush head to help provide extra protection against soiling the handle. The new single use refill brush heads feature a sealing insert to prevent saliva from entering the handle. Finally, a cleaning and disinfection procedure in-line with international standards and in tune with your day-to-day operations completes the infection control protocol.
On completion of the Test Drive, the sleeve slides up the handle and over the head; the head is then removed inside the sleeve and disposed of. The handle is then disinfected, ready for reuse.
Oral-B supplies practices participating in the Test Drive with the Oral-B Triumph 5000 SmartGuide handle and an unlimited supply of barrier sleeves and brush heads, all at no cost. New sleeves and heads can be ordered online at any time through the My Oral-B web app.
Dental Excellence is a busy practice in Sydney's north west with a team of three dentists and three hygienists providing comprehensive dental care. The Oral-B Test Drive Power Brush Trial Program has been welcomed by the hygiene team.
"The Oral-B rep came out and explained the program to us and ran through the infection control protocols and how to order the consumables online," Ms Borg said.
"Since then, we've slowly been implementing it into our day-to-day routine. I work 5 days a week and am doing around 4 test drives a day. All the hygienists have access to the program and are now doing Test Drives as well.
"We test drive new patients, especially non-users of power brushes, ortho patients, patients with lower bonded bridges and kids really love it too.
"We explain the technique and how the red light shows them they are pressing too hard. Some people say it's too 'buzzy' – so we show them the sensitive setting.
"Patients really love it. It's easier to understand when they're shown rather than just told. I always ask 'can you feel it cleaning your gums? I want you to feel how the toothbrush feels on the gum. If you can't feel that, then you know you're not in the right spot'. I explain that I want them to achieve that feeling at home.
"When I have a patient with gum disease, we do the Test Drive and then see them a month later. They often buy the brush and you can see the results - better plaque control and inflammation is reduced.
"It takes about 5-10 minutes to do the Test Drive. It's the normal amount of time we allocate for oral hygiene instruction anyway. We try to convert people over from manual brushing simply because it cleans better. Patients can touch it, feel it and work out how to use it. It takes all the risk out of going power."