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February 29th, 2004

When Dentists Sell

Last week, I went to the dentist – a new dentist, in a new town – for the first time in too long. (Be sure to read this, too.) When I arrived I noticed a full-on display for the Sonicare toothbrush. It was up on the counter and given prominence. When it was time for me to head into the office, the first thing I noticed on the counter was – yes, a Sonicare display.

When I was getting my teeth cleaned, the hygenist recommended the… Sonicare toothbrush. She went on to tell me about its features, including the 2-minute timer and 30-second beeper (this is to remind you to move to another area of your mouth.) I was told it would be good for my weakened gums, which I don’t entirely doubt, but it’s hard to say, “Why are you selling me this?” while your mouth is open and there’s a scraper in it.

Once my teeth were cleaned, the dentist came in and spent a whopping three minutes with me. He shook my hand twice and, yes, recommended the Sonicare toothbrush! He really did. Now, I can understand being enthusiastic about a product, but this altogether felt too much like a sales pitch. My last dentist didn’t have anything of this sort in her office. (She also spent real time with me, which I appreciated, although I have no idea if that’s normal or not.)

The Sonicare does seem like a good thing, but the displays were the last straw for me.

Is it just me, or is this happening to other people, too? I don’t think I like dentists trying to sell me $100 toothbrushes. Thankfully, on the way out, I was offered a free one – and it works just fine.

Posted in Just Plain Odd

FROM: Mario500 [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday February 29, 2004 -- 1:56:26 am
While you were there did you notice anything suspicious about the "false teeth"? Something most would suspect on "Candid Camera"?

If this is true (nope), make sure during your next appointment at "Sonicare-Dental Care" that you leave a Spinbrush in front of one of the false teeth, without the batteries.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Sunday February 29, 2004 -- 1:58:02 am
The dentist I had been going to most recently, until my health care coverage switched told me I needed to get a Sonicare. It was quite strange since I brushed at least 3 times a day, flossed, and used mouthwash. At least they told me where would have the cheapest price.

FROM: Monica
DATE: Sunday February 29, 2004 -- 8:39:23 pm
my mom works for a dentist. From what I've heard, they really like those 'lectric brushes, because a lot of people don't brush properly (so they say). (Did they have any comments about your gums?) My mom's boss recommends to get any kind, but I bet he'd take money to recommend a certain brand!
So you might've been encouraged to use an electric toothbrush even if there wasn't a display and all that. But having an in-commercial experience ... that's still kinda creepy.

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Sunday February 29, 2004 -- 9:24:17 pm
Woa -- I had no idea they cost so much... I honestly thought they were like $15 or something... Huyen and I got them as a gift, but they had a mysterious "for promotional use by dentists only" sticker on the front...

FROM: jk
DATE: Sunday February 29, 2004 -- 9:53:06 pm
Whoa, that's just creepy. I wonder how much of a kick-back they're getting. Is that the correct term? I bet they had to go through serious training in order to use the word-track that Sonicair wants them to use. To me, it's very tacky. I like getting free dental floss in the little basket when I leave....very low pressure sell.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Tuesday March 2, 2004 -- 3:22:54 pm
After all that selling, how did you end up with a free one? Did you mean a free regular "analog" toothbrush, or a Sonicare? (Thanks again for the word, aharris [see daily ping for 1/5/04]).

I love my Sonicare. I'd love it more if I got it for free!

Joseph a.k.a. "tartar chunk"

FROM: Paul
DATE: Tuesday March 2, 2004 -- 3:25:39 pm
Oh, sorry, I meant that I got a free analog toothbrush on the way out. I don't think I would have turned down a free $120 toothbrush, though.

Paul September 13, 2006, 1:28 pm

I’m not kidding when I tell you that our Explanations of Benefits from our insurance company have Sonicare ads on them. They’re one-liners, text only, so they can be easily missed.

But seriously, how much money has Sonicare put into the healthcare industry?!

Igor October 1, 2007, 5:04 pm

I am a dentist and we recommend Sonicare in our office too, but not beacause I get a “kick back”, but b/c there is a lot of research to show that they work! They were the 1st ones to come outwith this technology (then others tried to copy). We pay about $80 per brush with no kick backs. So if your dentist is selling the brush to you for $100 – you are paying for the convenience and as you can see he/she is not making a ton of money.

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