There are moments during a patient’s life where caring for their mouth will be incredibly uncomfortable, and maybe even feel impossible. Sometimes this is induced by dental professionals, for instance, after dental surgery or placement of orthodontics. Other times, patients can have discomfort maintaining their oral health during autoimmune breakouts like lichen planus or during cancer treatments and even herpetic breakouts. No matter the reason behind this time of discomfort, knowing the products that are going to help your patients get through this time is going to bring you the biggest thanks. Making sure we don’t leave patients high and dry and ensuring that we are providing them the best options for at-home care can help them heal faster and feel better. Sometimes, clinicians feel like, short of going home with the patient, they don’t have the ability to impact recovery at home. Here are a few times a patient struggles with at-home maintenance and some products that will make them say “thank you” for helping them in their time of discomfort!
A modernized approach to at-home recovery
Mouth-Mate® is a new home-care instrument for patients who have either undergone dental surgical procedures, are suffering from dental sores due to orthodontic appliances, or suffering autoimmune disorder breakouts. It can even be used as a retraction tool to get to those hard-to-reach posterior areas. Patients who are in pain fear getting near the area that is causing the discomfort and accidentally bumping it. Imagine if we can give the patient the ability to have a clean mouth and protect the area, helping with faster recovery.
Now, imagine that you are battling the always curious tongue or have a patient in your chair with erosive lichen planus, or maybe, large apthous ulcers and retraction is difficult. The mirror is sometimes hard and gives no protection to the buccal mucosa when retracting. Mouth- Mate has a wonderful oval tip and a flexible head that the hygienist can use in the chair and then give the patient to use at-home, extending care into the home. The oval tip is soft and feels better against areas like erosive lichen planus when hygienist are trying to retract and polish the most posterior teeth. Mouth-Mate is also a helpful tool when doing intraoral scanning when retraction is often a challenge because it can be uncomfortable and a mirror just won’t work. Finding a way to help the patient be comfortable while in the dental chair receiving their in-office maintenance or at-home performing their own maintenance will make them want to give you an extra “thank you”.
Post-surgical brushes aren’t just for post-surgery.
Extra-soft bristles can be found on tooth brushes, interdental brushes, and even end-tufted brushes. They are often labeled “post-surgery” but they are useful in so many situations: thin biotypes, oral mucositis, autoimmune breakouts, and severe xerostomia. The bristle, being a softer filament, will make the task of home care not as painful as it often is in these situations but may take more effort and strokes to remove the same amount of biofilm as a soft brush.
For patients with oral lesions or areas of discomfort that come and go, using a line like TePe’s interdental brushes will allow for the patient to use a soft bristled interdental brush when their mouth feels healthy and then switch to the same sized extra-soft brush when they are having times of discomfort. This allows for consistency and continuation of their normal homecare routines. This is the same for post-surgery. If the area has healed enough that interdental cleaning is recommended, the patient can use the extra-soft line and then once the tissue is fully healed, move to the soft line in the corresponding color or size. Helping patients during this time of transition and giving them options that won’t make them feel like they are brushing with a wire brush during very uncomfortable oral breakouts will lead you to hearing “thank you” even more.
On the market today, you will find a rinse for everything and many with very big claims. They aren’t magic potions but can be magical for the patient if we are helping them find the right rinse for their current discomfort. StellaLife, Inc. is one mouth rinse that could really help patients with oral pain management. Their research claims the formulation of their homeopathic ingredients help with post-surgical wound healing (VEGA Rinse), and are effective in management and better healing of mucositis, aphthous ulcers, cold sores, dentures sores and nearly all other dental concerns (VEGA Gel).
Lichen Planus patients, cancer patients, and more have seen relief when using activated chlorine dioxide rinses like OraCare. It is not only more pleasant than some of the harsher mouth rinses on the market, but it tackles many of the nasty pathogens we see in the oral cavity like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. When a patient is in pain or suffering from a breakout or severe xerostomia, anything that can help smooth and bring pain relief will give you the biggest thank you’s from your patients.
No one likes to be in pain and the dental profession understands that. Now we can help our patients manage their oral health at home, even in the more uncomfortable times. You can now give them a way to remove the fear of making their pain worse but also giving them the ability to heal faster and prevent any further pain from infection. As an industry, we need to do more for the patients at home to improve outcomes. This first begins with the incredible knowledge and work that is done in the office and now can extend at home. The thank you’s that you receive from your patients after giving them these innovative solutions will be like no other. Let’s make sure we are not leaving our patients in pain or fear when they leave our offices.