How to help patients create good homecare habits

Dental Products ReportDental Products Report-2013-03-01
Issue 3

Homecare is key to oral health success, but the trick is getting patients to follow through. Here’s how to not only find out what they need, but how to get them to comply.

Homecare is key to oral health success, but the trick is getting patients to follow through. Here’s how to not only find out what they need, but how to get them to comply.

Hygienists are prevention specialists, so it seems appropriate for professionally applied and take-home products to be part of a patient prevention program.

As part of daily patient care, hygienists have to determine which homecare product is best for each patient to achieve optimal oral health.

Based on the clinical assessment, medical history review, and patient receptivity, the dentist and dental hygienist must partner with the patient to personally commit to investing in preventive measures and/or products for their oral health.

With the vast array of homecare products available to treat different conditions (hypersensitivity, caries, plaque, etc.) it is no easy task for the provider or patient to filter through the product line to determine which product will best meet the patient’s needs.

Ultimately, the provider’s job is to enroll the patient into a preventive homecare program that is easy, cost-effective, and sustainable. From toothpaste to protective creams to floss and traditional floss alternatives, there are plenty of options that can meet your patients’ needs. 

Remin Pro from VOCO addresses concerns such as demineralization and erosion. This protective cream helps strengthen, remineralize, and desensitize teeth prior to or following a whitening procedure, professional cleaning, and orthodontic treatments.

Remin Pro contributes to the neutralization of acids caused by plaque. With its hydroxyl apatite and fluoride content, it promotes natural remineralization and thus provides fortification of the dental enamel. Visit


Assessing the patient

It is our responsibility to look for signs that can lead to dental decay or periodontal disease so they can be prevented. However, it is also our responsibility to identify current conditions that need immediate attention. To begin your assessment, it may be beneficial to have the patient fill out a caries risk form. This form will help you obtain necessary data, and more importantly, will help engage the patient during the exam.

By doing this you will be able to link the information you have gathered in your clinical exam, such as the presence of exposed root surfaces, cavity history, poor oral hygiene, many multi-surface restorations, dry mouth, active orthodontic treatment and other indications that expose the patient to increased caries risk.

Additionally, a periodontal evaluation should be done at every exam to evaluate gum and bone health.

Performing these assessments will support your efforts to be more comprehensive with a patient’s treatment and homecare regimen. 

3M ESPE’s Clinpro 5000 delivers fluoride, strengthens enamel and reverses early white spot lesions. The 1.1% Sodium Fluoride Anti-Cavity Toothpaste features a proprietary tri-calcium phosphate ingredient.

A protective barrier is created around the calcium during manufacturing to allow it to coexist with the fluoride ions.

This barrier breaks down when it comes in contact with saliva, allowing remineralization to occur. Visit 

Communicating with the patient

Following the assessment, you need to explain your findings to the patient. Bring your patient to a position where you have eye-to eye contact while you’re talking. As a clinician you need to convert the patient’s “need” into a “want.”  At this time, you are ready to go over treatment recommendations based on your findings and risk assessment factors. It will be necessary to obtain a commitment from the patient to comply with your recommendations.

That means you need to bring your passion into your presentation and education. Show the patient areas of concern as well as areas that are in danger for future issues. Patients need to know that oral disease can cause tooth loss and prevention now will help them avoid more invasive and expensive procedures down the line.

Want to improve your case presentation skills? Check out this Morning Huddle video from Jameson Management:

Getting them to comply

With any homecare regimen, compliance is the key to success, yet can be difficult for patients. To help motivate them to comply, patients need to see and understand the seriousness of the condition that’s happening in their mouth and understand that it will take procedures that will be done in the office, as well as setting a homecare regimen, to prevent, control and maintain their oral health.

Because of improved homecare and in-office treatments, more patients are keeping their teeth throughout their lives. A provider/patient relationship is necessary to help your patients find the best way to care for their oral health and for them to leave the office with the right product or on their way to the store to get it. Most preventive products come in a paste and rinse form and this may help your patients be more compliant because they are likely already brushing and rinsing in the morning and evening,

There are several homecare products available in nearly all categories that will help strengthen, remineralize, and desensitize teeth, as well as products that will help as an antibacterial agent to minimize bacterial level. It’s up to you and your patients to help determine what will work best to treat their condition, as well as be something they’ll use at home when you’re not around to remind them.

MI Paste and MI Paste Plus from GC America contains the active ingredient RECALDENT™ (CPP-ACP), a special milk-derived phosphopeptide that binds calcium and phosphate to the teeth’s surface, plaque and surrounding soft tissue. MI Paste is a water-based, sugar-free créme that is applied directly to the teeth’s surface or oral cavities. MI Paste with RECALDENT™ (CPP-ACP) helps release calcium and phosphate to restore the oral mineral imbalances that cause the loss of teeth-strengthening by replacing minerals, improving saliva flow and fluoride uptake and soothing sensitive surfaces. Visit


Achieving optimal oral health

As providers, we tend to discuss oral hygiene instruction with the patients on a daily basis so it is appropriate to discuss not only a preventative measure but a product that will help to recover the teeth and improve the patient’s long-term oral health. Clearly providing your patients with this preventive and therapeutic service is a great short- and long-term solution to their oral health needs. Remember, when it comes to a patient reaching optimal oral health, it takes two to make it happen!  

Rafael Rondon has worked in the dental field for more than 22 years. He spent the early part of his career working in a hospital setting and private practice.

In 2000, Rafael began working for Coast Dental, where he was a dental hygiene coordinator/coach and was later promoted to a Corporate Hygiene Administrator.  Rafael developed and implemented a dental hygiene standard of care for the organization. In 2010, Rafael dedicated his talents to American Dental Partners and began employment as a Regional Hygiene Mentor, where he supports 5 dental group affiliates and dental hygienists in the organization. He is dedicated to helping and supporting the development of the hygiene program, individual hygienist’s skills, and improving the value of their dental hygiene team. Rafael’s coaching and training  have helped hundreds of practices achieve their long sought after goals.

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