At the CMDA Winter conference, I shared a room with a current dentist. Watching me wrestling floss for fifteen minutes, she asked if I’d heard of Platypus flossers. No, but I looked them up and they look like those plastic flossers my dad loves- only thinner on one side. The flosser is skinny enough to fit underneath the wires!
This seemed so simple yet genius. I was so excited to get my samples in the mail- and rightfully so- I absolutely LOVED them. My flossing time got down to regular-people-time.
I got in touch with Fred Van de Perre, President of Platypus Company, to ask about this innovative (life-changing for me!) product.
You’re not a dentist or a dental professional. So what is your experience with braces?
As an inventor/developer in the dental industry for years, the challenge of traditional floss-threaders became a reality with my 12-year-old. She didn’t like it. I didn’t like it. Her mother didn’t like it.
That’s where most of my motivations come, when I am faced with the challenge or someone I know is challenged and they come to me.
How did you come to develop Platypus flossers?
Laura Morgan, RDH, a pediatric hygienist in Texas brought me her thoughts of what she felt could be a design for a solution. My design was somewhat different and between us we worked together to create a product that worked, was affordable, wouldn’t damage ortho hardware, and was fast and easy to use.
When I first heard of the name Platypus, I laughed out loud. So what’s behind the name Platypus?
I have never been a fan of traditional dental names, plus, life’s too short to not have fun. For instance, when I developed the Montana Jack™ scaler, I named it that way because it was simply a customer friendly name that was more fun and memorable. The Platypus® has a platypus-type of bill configuration, like a duck, and considering the majority of the target audience are kids, names like platypus, beluga (whale) or something duck-like was definitely going to happen. There is always resistance from some on these names, but once they become popular, it’s kind of like, “ahem… see?”
Are you developing any other devices to make life easier for people with braces?
Our new patent pending toothbrush is also a “forehead slapper” People might say, “great, another toothbrush,” but when it comes down to it and you try to teach someone to brush in a new method for braces, it then makes a lot of sense to have a brush that is designs to adapt for you.
I have also been working on several different items both solo and with my team. For instance, a solution to the lingual retainer is SO needed and we have been working on for some time now. If any of your readers have ideas or challenges I would also love to hear from them.
If you have braces like me, these are absolutely amazing. Oh, and in addition to coming up with awesome dental products, Fred has founded Bikers against Bullies USA. Go “like” their fb page & if you have the next GREAT BIG idea for peeps with braces, get in conversation with Fred. ;)