The Art of Sampling: A Fresh Insider Perspective of Dental Products

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Samples, samples, samples! Sampling products from PPE to home-care supplies are a great opportunity for patients and clinicians to try something new and test it out. You may switch over to a new product almost immediately, quickly admiring the results of using it. Testing out products gives you hands-on experiences and observation, allowing you to formulate your own opinion that you can then relay to patients and colleagues.

Patients value your professional opinion and come to you with questions on what they should do. What toothpastes do you recommend? Would this mouth rinse improve my oral condition? If a patient presents with a high risk of caries, what products are out there to aid them?

There are hundreds of dental manufacturers, vendors, and companies. At dental conferences, it can become overwhelming to visit every booth in order to obtain the information and possibly samples that you want.

How can you get samples delivered to your office door? I have been called the Queen of Samples by some of our professional acquaintances. So, you have come to the right place. Here are some tricks for getting the most of out of your ventures for samples.

  1. Go directly to the source. Check out a company’s website. Some companies have free sample opportunities directly on their website.
  2. Sign up for updates and emails on sampling opportunities. Some companies offer monthly or quarterly and auto-sending samples. Additionally, these companies may have dental professional links on their website or professional reward programs.
  3. When in doubt, check social media. Some of you are hesitant about social media. I get it. It’s a monster on its own sometimes. But companies love using social media to connect with dental professionals. Along with samples, companies love to have monthly contests and giveaways. Some giveaways I have personally seen are for fun things like swag, t-shirts, samples, new products, brand new instruments, and handpieces! I definitely recommend following your favorite companies.
  4. Connecting with others. Speaking of social media, groups and social media pages for dental professionals enjoy helping each other with questions and advice. Learning about where to find samples is also a large part of participating in these groups. Members share links and their tricks to partake in the latest sample opportunities.
  5. Shop small too. Remember, there are also “smaller” dental companies and manufacturers. You don’t always have to reach out to the head honchos first. Smaller or local manufacturers love to share their products with you to get their name out there. It is also nice to try out newer companies’ products.
  6. Reaching out. Contacting your rep or company directly. In my experience, if I were very interested in a product, I would email/contact the company asking if it was possible to try some of their products.

Companies are always creating, updating, and improving products. They provide the opportunity for samples so that dental professionals can provide honest feedback. You are at the forefront for them. If you don’t like a product, you most likely won’t be recommending that product first to your patients. You are an important part of a company’s marketing strategy.

At times, some samples may include surveys or check-in emails to hear your thoughts after trying the product. A company representative may also connect with you regarding any other questions about their products.

Test out the samples yourself, so it will be easier and more beneficial when patients ask about them. Remember, not all samples have to be toothpaste and mouthwash that leave in the patient’s goodie bags. Some samples are for you! There are samples out there of masks and gloves. There are some for topical anesthetics, prophy pastes, varnishes, prophy angles, air-water syringes, suctions, antimicrobial soaps/hand sanitizers, and whatever else you can think of!

For special offers and samples just for Today’s RDH readers, be sure to check out promos here!

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Kaitlyn Machado, RDH, BS, MEd, FADHA
Since a very young age, Kaitlyn Machado, RDH, BS, MEd, FADHA, has always wanted to be a dental hygienist. She was the youngest student to graduate from her dental hygiene class in 2017. Since then, Kate has returned for her bachelor's and master's degrees. She is a faculty member at her local dental hygiene school and a clinical dental hygienist. Kate has been a part of Today's RDH since its launch. She is extremely passionate about homecare, loves her prophy paste and fluoride varnish, and enjoys attending professional conferences. In addition, Kate loves to work with a local non-profit organization that helps fight against hygiene insecurity of all ages in her community. As a lifelong learner, she enjoys being as involved as possible in the dental hygiene profession. When Kate isn't working, she enjoys traveling, sports, watching movies, and spending time with her amazing, supportive family.