Our aim as dental specialists is to stop the start of illness. The correct products can help maintain a patient's dental health in between appointments and have a favorable impact on the results of the services we offer. One significant benefit we can offer patients is advice on product selection. There are three options: suggest professional products, over-the-counter products, or say nothing and let the patient decide for themselves which product to use.
Professional Product Choices
Products from professionals are those that are unavailable in stores. This is difficult since the patients can't just walk in and get them; they need to be brought in or prescribed. Any condition can be treated more successfully using professional products. Comparable to the distinction between clear aligners manufactured in-office and under the supervision of a dental professional and a home kit that a patient purchases. The at-home equipment might only be effective in a select few situations, but a professional could handle any situation, particularly the most challenging ones. Use professional materials if you want professional results. Chlorhexidine and activated chlorine dioxide (OraCare) are the only two solutions that are truly regarded as professional products when it comes to rinses. Both of these medicines must be administered directly to the patient or recommended by a dental practitioner and neither can be purchased over the counter.
Because it is what we were taught in school, hygienists frequently use chlorhexidine by default. Because chlorhexidine is an excellent bactericide, we have been using it. Since this potent biocide (1200 ppm) has so many negative effects, many people are ceasing to use it. Numerous studies show that chlorhexidine harms fibroblasts and impedes the healing process in addition to staining and increased calculus buildup. Blood, saliva, and use within 30 minutes of cleaning your teeth also inactivates it. The fact that it is only advised for a total of two weeks of use makes it impossible to utilize it for routine at-home care. Normally, gingiva heals from a sick condition to a healthy state in a minimum of 34 days. This is a key factor in why chlorhexidine doesn't work well for us.
OraCare, the only other professional rinse option, was developed by dental professionals in an effort to displace chlorhexidine due to the issues it causes. There are drawbacks to this rinse as well; it is only available at dental offices and is frequently more expensive than OTC alternatives. OraCare performs better than over-the-counter remedies and kills the same bacteria as chlorhexidine, which is good news. Without any of the negative effects of chlorhexidine, it also eradicates viruses, fungus, neutralizes volatile sulfur compounds, and disintegrates biofilm. OraCare is unique in that it accomplishes all of this while emitting only 44ppm, allowing patients to use it on a daily basis—which is the very definition of homecare. This product has been a go-to choice for dental professionals who have made the switch when seeking for a tool to enhance homecare.
Over The Counter Products
OTC products are simple to locate and less expensive than professional products. Although there is no professional direction and they typically aren't as effective. For instance, prescription fluoride gel reduces sensitivity better than over-the-counter toothpaste. It is stronger and more efficient, and it is employed for a particular patient need. The OTC product is more accessible to a wider range of people, but it is less effective.
Additionally, the majority of OTC products only target a single aspect of complicated dental issues. Consider halitosis, which has bacteria and VSCs as significant factors. Since most OTC treatments simply combat bacteria, both require long-term solutions. Although we prefer that patients use professional medicines, we understand that over-the-counter (OTC) treatments have their purpose.
You can always opt to make no recommendations and let the patient determine the course of action. This removes any obstacles you might have, but it also increases the likelihood that you won't receive the outcomes you want. It is our responsibility to help our patients achieve the greatest dental health possible. Even if patients decide not to heed our recommendations, it is still crucial to educate them.
We are aware that patients' behavior outside of appointments has a significant impact on disease prevention. Because of this, it's crucial that we plan our patients' at-home care. Professional products have the capacity to offer patients the higher caliber of treatment they require.
It is our duty to choose the route that results in better clinical outcomes.
Kristin Goodfellow RDH
Kristin is Chief Clinical Officer of OraCare, a practicing Registered Dental Hygienist