Dr. Nagelberg: Tell me how you use OralDNA salivary diagnostics.
Dr. Comfortes: I started utilizing salivary diagnostics in 2013. Since then my approach has concentrated on total health, which I discuss this during every patient consult. Without the use of OralDNA® salivary diagnostics, the total health conversation would be difficult. First, I ask the patient if they understand the importance of the test. Then I address the levels of bacteria and how that is expressed in their gum health. We discuss how in some situations antibiotics along with tissue therapy will help them manage their periodontal disease. The systemic connection of the bacteria is also stressed with the possibility of those bacteria placing their body at risk for other diseases. My main message is oral health will impact total health. Having the knowledge of the level of pathogens is critical in achieving wellness. That is why the MyPerioPath® is a test we rely on.
Dr. Nagelberg: Is there a specific patient type, besides the periodontal patient, you would consider testing?
Dr. Comfortes: Yes, a patient who has health concerns or a family history of diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), for example.
Dr. Nagelberg: How do your patients respond to this technology? What is their #1 question?
Dr. Comfortes: Our patients are impressed with this technology and many are appreciative that we are able to provide salivary testing. Patients are asking “When do I have the test done to see if I’ve improved?”, that is their #1 question.
Dr. Nagelberg: What are the biggest benefits to using salivary diagnostics?
Dr. Comfortes: The first benefit for me in using salivary diagnostics is that it provides the necessary information to assist in treating a patient’s periodontal condition. Do we need antibiotics and which one is vital to the success of the clinical treatment? Second, and more importantly, is that the level of pathogens is a marker of overall health. When I receive the results of the salivary test and the pathogens are at a very high level, I suspect inflammation elsewhere in the body. If the systemic component is not addressed, long term periodontal health is not achievable. I always recommend that the patient consult with their Medical Doctor. Co-managing is essential; I will send a letter with my findings and recommendations to their doctor.
Dr. Nagelberg: If a new OralDNA® provider were to ask you for advice, what would be your best tip?
Dr. Comfortes: I would tell them to work on keeping the price for the testing as economical as possible. I feel that every patient should have a salivary diagnosis performed as part of an overall oral examination. This should be as routine as taking x-rays or having an oral cancer exam. It is important to know the level of pathogens even if clinically, someone appears healthy. A lower fee for the patient would make the salivary testing more accessible to a greater number of patients.
Dr. Nagelberg: Where do you see salivary diagnostics in 3-5 years? 10 years? What would be the impact on your practice/ patients?
Dr. Comfortes: 3-5 years? 10 years? Wow, I see salivary diagnostics growing in use and in popularity. It’s non-invasive, it’s quick, easy and doesn’t require special equipment. I am confident that genetic information regarding the probability of manifesting certain systemic diseases and cancers will be available and OralDNA® is already leading the way with tests like Celsus One™ and Alert 2™. The shift for dentistry will be huge. It will change the practice of dentistry forever and the impact on overall health care will be tremendous. Possibly your initial medical exam will be at the dentist and not at the medical doctor. Prevention of disease can become a reality with early diagnosis. The future is bright for salivary diagnosis.