We initially heard about xylitol in a continuing education class years ago as an added sugar that helps to reduce caries. More recently, while attending another dental continuing education class, the speaker informed the audience in greater detail about the oral benefits of xylitol. At the seminar, Lisa Stillman, a representative of Spry, had a table set up with lots of samples and information. She came to our office to tell us more about Spry and the dental benefits of xylitol. It was then our clinical staff decided to implement xylitol into our office.
How did you implement xylitol into the office?
After learning the benefits of xylitol and the recommendations for the number of exposures to consume throughout the day, we began talking to our patients who had risks for caries. Our office made a caries risk assessment questionnaire so patients could see why they were at risk for caries and what we could offer to help them avoid caries in the future. We purchased a supply of mints, gum, mouth sprays, and toothpastes we could offer our patients. We found that even with the best intentions, patients would often forget to pick up the products we recommended for them. So having them for sale at the office was very convenient, plus they could see what it was we were offering. We present a variety of ways to help our patients keep healthy gums and teeth by offering a variety of oral care products or coming in more frequently for their hygiene visits.
What were some of the roadblocks implementing xylitol into the office?
Initially, the biggest hurdle was training all the staff on the benefits of xylitol and why we were planning to offer them for sale. Learning how to bring up the conversation and recommendations took a little time, but after some practice, the words came much easier. We also had to decide how much to purchase initially as we did not want to have products that didn’t move.
How receptive are the patients?
Patients seem very receptive to purchase items that will help them not have cavities. Since many already purchase gum, mints and candy, this was an easy transition.
What results are you seeing in terms of patients’ oral hygiene, tooth decay?
Some of our patients come in periodically to purchase more products. Those that suffer with dry mouth, in particular, have noticed a nice difference with the use of the Spry products.
How has this helped with team building?
Whenever we can all work together to help our patients and each other, it’s positive. The staff and doctors can confidently speak about xylitol products as a means to help reduce cavities and relive dry mouth symptoms.
How has this helped with practice building?
Patients can leave with the idea that this office is on top of their game with innovative ideas, as we are constantly striving to help our patients meet their goals. We are a large referral based practice and keeping up with the latest in technology and science is key to helping our patients have a healthy smile.