My Dentist Was Mad When I told Him This

It had been 15 months since I had my teeth cleaned. I scheduled my appointment at an office where I previously worked, 1. because I like the dental hygienist and 2. because I know everyone. I couldn’t wait for my appointment day and in typical dental hygienist fashion, promptly scaled my fixed lingual retainer and did a general scaling a few days prior to my appointment.

Now, let me preface this story with the fact that I once was an Educator on Behalf of Waterpik and did several Lunch and Learns at this office. Because of the research behind the Waterpik and my own personal experience with its efficacy, I came to use it exclusively. Occasionally I would string floss to check the gums to see if they bled, but they didn’t. Fast forward 6 years and I still do not use string floss, at all.

I have a 7mm pocket located in the mandibular area between #23-24. I also have localized 5 and 6mm pockets. I do believe it is in part from being a smoker (past) and wearing orthodontia, twice as an adult. Additionally, these pockets occurred when I was using string floss, only.

During and after the cleaning my hygienist reported that there was zero bleeding. ZERO BLEEDING on a 7mm pocket. I proudly reminded her that I didn’t string floss and that I only used the Waterpik. When the dentist came in, I excitedly told him and he immediately balked.

“I wouldn’t be too proud of your teeth, you do have a 7mm pocket!”

I replied, “But there is zero bleeding. Floss can only get down to 3mm and the Waterpik gets down to 99% of a 6mm pocket. Obviously it works great on pockets greater than 6mm.”

He was fast becoming irate with me and went on to tell me that a periodontist called his office and told him that one of his dental hygienists was recommending the Waterpik for his perio patients. Someone was listening and learning at my Lunch and Learns.

I returned with, “The Waterpik is great for perio. Look at my gum health!” his head almost exploded as he turned red and said, “I’m not trying to argue with you but you have to string floss!” He immediately went into defensive mode and reminded me of a 5 year old, covering his ears and repeating, “You have to string floss. You have to string floss!”

When the hygienist saw that I was ruffling his feathers, she quickly added “Well, you have to mechanically remove the biofilm and you can’t do that with a Waterpik.”


Why are some dental professionals so resistant to change? String floss is NOT THE GOLD STANDARD. One size does not fit all. The Waterpik has replaced string floss for me and I will never go back. String flossing is a technique that many patients find difficult to do. Water flossing is easier and effective.

I cannot write about ALL of the research on the efficacy of the Waterpik but you can read it here

If your dental office is interested in learning more, I invite you to host a Waterpik Lunch and Learn

In order for us to move forward in the field of dentistry we have to be open minded to technological advances. It is surely what will secure our future.

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