Your prophy preferences

February 2010 | Modern HygienistThe Preventive ProphylaxisYour prophy preferencesThe dental hygienist’s take on purchasing power, brand affinity and more. Compiled by Thais Carter

February 2010 | Modern Hygienist
The Preventive Prophylaxis

Your prophy preferences

The dental hygienist’s take on purchasing power, brand affinity and more.

Compiled by Thais Carter

In the patient’s experience, do the products used during the prophy really make a difference? That was the main question at hand in this month’s survey. An overwhelming 94% of you responded yes. Whether it was the heat and vibration of the handpiece, taste and grit of the prophy paste, or the amount of access provided by different angles-you had numerous reasons why taking the time to choose the right products matters.

There was, of course, the 6% who didn’t believe it made a huge difference for the patient; in many of those responses, the hygienists suggested that most patients don’t really notice or care,  and the main person who benefits from better equipment and products is the dental hygienist.


63%of respondents said if they hear of new prophy-related products they share that information with their doctor.
Source: DPR Prophy Survey

52% of respondents said if they hear of new prophy-related products they contact the manufacturer themselves.
Source: DPR Prophy Survey

"I get what I want... but I am very conservative with my doctor's money."
- Survey respondent

Top Handpieces

  • DENTSPLY Midwest RDH
  • DentalEZ Prophy Star & Titan
  • The third most common response? “I don’t know what I use.”

Top Prophy Angles

  • Young Dental offerings
  • Preventech Pivot
  • Denticator offerings

Top Prophy Pastes

  • DENTSPLY Professional NUPRO line
  • Premier Dental Products EnamelPro
  • 3M ESPE Clinpro
  • Preventech Next
  • Smart consumer

Some important questions to ask when researching lowspeed handpieces…

  • Is the weight and balance of the handpiece well designed for the practitioner?
  • Is there a swivel feature?
  • What is the noise or vibration level of the handpiece?
  • What is the average lifespan of the handpiece?


Asking for new equipment

by MaryLynn Wheaton, Director of Consulting, Pride Institute

You know you need a new handpiece in your operatory, but you’re unsure how to approach your dentist because you’ve just overhead him speaking to the dental assistant about low production. What’s the best approach to take? In a word: preparation.

Do your due diligence. Check out multiple handpieces. Obtain the literature for each and if possible, ask for demos. I suggest putting the comparisons on paper (a spreadsheet would be best). Note clinical considerations such as weight, ease of sterilization, speed, noise, method of bur changing, etc.

Cost is a major factor, but you also must consider the return-on-investment (ROI) in purchasing this piece of equipment. How and at what point will this new equipment “pay for itself?” This often is expressed in dollars, but products also can give return in increased efficiency, less operator fatigue and increased quality of care to patients.

Your approach

Meet with your dentist to review this information at an appropriate administrative time. Use a “benefit plus procedure” statement. First present the benefits that you feel will be most influential to his/her motivators and then the procedure (action) you’d like. For example:

“Dr. Jones, in order to provide the quality of care to which we are dedicated, I’d like to suggest the purchase of a new handpiece for the hygiene department.” Then review the features (your spreadsheet).

Your employer will appreciate the time and effort in your preparation. That handpiece just might make it to the top of the priority list!


The February 2010 DPR Prophy Survey was sent via e-mail to 15,000 dental hygienists in the United States. The link to the survey also was promoted on Facebook, where we currently have 3,393 followers. They survey was completed by 560 people.