6 Tips on How to Effectively Evaluate Hygiene Product Samples
Dental Hygienists love free samples! We all love free stuff, but product samples allow clinicians to evaluate and, in turn, recommend products that could be purchased for their practice.
An important part of the evaluation process is engaging the entire dental team to make a complete case when deciding on whether or not to purchase a new product. Consider how the product may make a difference for your patients’ oral health. What’s the difference between the new product and what you currently use? How much will it cost or save the practice?
Let’s stay on that for a moment – How much will it cost? The team should have a definition for “expensive” when weighing the pros and cons. You should recognize the difference between short-term costs and long-term results. For example, if fluoride varnish is more expensive than fluoride foam, do the clinical results for your patients outweigh the initial costs? You decide.
Once you have these guidelines clearly understood, now you can begin evaluating hygiene products.
Here are 6 tips to help with your product evaluation:
Clean out your drawer and toss any samples that have been there for over 3 months…especially before attending a meeting and bringing in more samples.
Go to the manufacturer’s website for the product you’re evaluating. This will give you some great info on the product (including recommended use, evidence-based research, and patient acceptance) before you even try it out.
If you have a lot of samples, decide which product will give you and/or your patients the greatest benefit or which product will contribute the most to your practice. This will help you with the order of products to try out – and remember, evaluate one product at a time.
Use it and follow up with the patient to see what they liked and disliked about the product. Also, by involving patients in this process could lead them to share your commitment to excellence and wellness with their friends and family – word-of-mouth is free advertising!
Make sure you and your team share your own experiences with the product. From the ease of application to the amount of time procedures took with the product, everything is important to share. For example, if you are going to recommend 2 different prophy pastes, how long will it take you to use a fine grit on cosmetic restorations and then switch to a medium grit for healthy enamel with stain?
Give it a number on a scale of 1 to 5…5 being the best investment-worthy product based on the information above. This can really be helpful when comparing products against others.
The number of samples a dental hygienist has access to is staggering. Developing a strategy to effectively evaluate these hygiene products must not be taken lightly. When objectives are clear and evaluations are followed through, the interaction and cooperation of the entire team will lead to great finds in the vast world of dental product samples.
Anastasia L. Turchetta, RDH
America’s Dental Hygienist