Making Recommendations with Results

  • by Phyllis Martina, RDH, MBA, Senior Professional Education Manager, Colgate Oral Pharmaceuticals Inc.
  • Aug 9, 2021
8-9-21_Colgate_AThis column is sponsored by Colgate, an AGD Corporate Sponsor. 

Does this ever happen to you? You spend time advising your patient how to take care of his or her teeth and gingiva to remove the daily buildup of biofilm and prevent calculus formation, recommending products for less staining and whiter teeth, which are the only conditions they asked about. Your patient nods, thanking you for your time and care. You are confident when this patient returns to your office they will have healthier gingiva, better breath and whiter teeth. Your clinical instructor would be so proud of your patient management and expert communication skills. 

Six months pass, and that same patient returns with the same gingivitis, biofilm, bad breath, stain and calculus. You ask if they used the therapies you recommended six months ago, and they don’t remember you recommending anything. You cannot believe it. Instead of moving forward, the conversation is like running in place. There is a lot of activity, but the scenery is not changing. 

It is not that patients don’t care about oral health; if they are coming to your office, they care. There may be so much going on in their lives they forget your recommendations the next time they brush. Or they did not have time to buy that specific antibacterial mouth rinse or soft-bristled toothbrush the day of their appointment, and, when they finally get to the store, they are so overwhelmed by all the oral care products they simply cannot remember if you said get product X or don’t get product X. If you wrote your recommendations on a sticky note, it may now be on the sole of the shoe of one of your other patients that day. It is just too confusing, so they continue to use the same old thing and follow their old habits. 

While you were giving your best clinical recommendations, the patient had the blinding overhead light in their eyes, thinking of the birthday present to buy for the party tomorrow or the report they need to deliver to their boss today, trying to remember if they ordered dog food to be delivered or have to go to the store to buy some, and they were getting a little panicky as they realized their parking meter was about to expire. With all that on their minds, it is no wonder they don’t remember exactly what you said. 

Old habits are hard to break, both for us and for our patients. Let’s change things to realize a better outcome. Try Colgate Professional Direct, a digital recommendation program to support your oral health conversations with your patients. In a few steps, you determine which products are the right fit for their home care to complement your treatment plan. We know it can be ineffectual to give just any product recommendation — recommended products need to be personalized to each individual’s needs to be truly effective. This program provides that personalized individual attention. 

This is another part of the excellent customer service you already provide. There is no need for your patients to remember your recommendation. After you select the products you want your patients to use at home, send your individual code to the patient. They then can have those products sent directly to their home at a discount. A box filled with your home care recommendations lands on their doorstep as a reminder. There is no need for your patients to hunt for the right product looking for that key ingredient that they just can’t remember because you selected a particular mouth rinse or that new power toothbrush and its killer app to address their specific conditions and their unique needs. You can choose to receive 10% of the sales in your bank account, or, if you prefer not to receive the money, Colgate will direct the funds to Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures, Colgate’s global educational program, which provides oral health education to underserved children around the globe. 

Your conversation during their next appointment will focus on how much better their oral health is, their new puppy, rainbows and unicorns. Move the conversation forward, and learn more.