I ran across this article from 2006 I wrote. It’s AS pertinent today, especially given the more difficult selling environments we all find ourselves in.

On a recent hygiene appointment at my favorite dental office (SofTouch Dental in Salem, of course!), Kathy, the very experienced RDH of about 25 years or so (maybe more) was asking me a series of questions and making some statements about my oral health…Stuff like; “I can tell when you’ve had significant stress – the cleanings are always more difficult.” Or something to that effect. This comment led her to ask if I had ever used or heard of a water pick. (Yes, I know I spelled it wrong.) In my mind, I’m

thinking of a pick that I would use to loosen up clay or very dense soil.

I said, “No.”

She began, in very technical dental language, to explain what this device was and how it would benefit me and that recently, it was getting the press it deserved.

After she got done I said, “So, Kathy, this water pick, is it like a water-powered vacuum cleaner flusher devise?”



So I asked, “Kathy, why not just tell me that it flushes out the gaps in between teeth like a power washer and the water pressure kinda vacuums it out?”


“Good idea. I’ll use an explanation like that next time.”

See, as a patient, I was completely confused…Although, the entire time, I knew what a WaterPik really was, I just wanted to make a point with her, in an amusing way, that the average Joe or Jolleen on the street has no earthly idea what a water pick or Waterpik is!

Two things for you to take away from this short article:

1) Use words that EVERYONE understands, like CAVITY vs. Decay.

2) EDUCATE your patients every month about dental health and how it relates to them and their long-term health. SEND a newsletter to them each and every month, no matter what time of year or time of month it is. That way, the next time you need to have someone understand what a bridge is (not the one they cross on the way to work), they UNDERSTAND and can get in-synch with you – or at the very least, they will recognize and perhaps remember seeing it somewhere, versus the current problem of thinking it’s like the Bridge Over the River Kwai.