Saving Patient’s Time and Money: An Interview with Lori Appehans

In many, if not most dental offices, the dental hygienists are the engine that makes the practice go. Clinicians like Lori Appehans are providing optimal treatment by choosing to utilize salivary diagnostic technology. It is my sincere hope that her patients understand how well they are being taken care of. It was certainly my pleasure to discuss the impact of salivary testing with Lori.

Dr Nagelberg: Tell me why you started to use OralDNA salivary diagnostics.

Lori, RDH: We were frustrated with inconsistent periodontal results, and began incorporating OralDNA® into our practice. Prior to starting, some patients returned for their post periodontal therapy check and there was still significant signs of disease. We wanted more for our patients. We started using the MyPerioPath® salivary test pre and post periodontal therapy and for gingivitis therapy too. Salivary diagnostics is a GAME CHANGER. The visual tool of the actual results helps our patients understand in black and white (actually in a rainbow of colors) how serious the disease is, not just orally but for their systemic health too.

Dr Nagelberg: Who do you consider for testing?

Lori, RDH: Everyone is considered for salivary diagnostics; everyone can benefit from these tests. Our standard of care for all periodontal or gingivitis patients is the MyPerioPath®. We must know the bacterial levels to properly treat them. Pregnancy patients are of great concern. MyPerioPath® confirms if the etiology is bacterial or hormonal. If you aren’t testing, you don’t know for sure.
OralDNA® has a great selection of genetic testing which we use these as needed. We perform the DNA DrugMap™ for anyone who has suffered any type of reaction to any medications. This is a higher level of care we are able to provide.

Dr Nagelberg: What are the biggest benefits to using salivary diagnostics?

Lori, RDH: It saves time and money on the patient’s part. It gives you a clear playing field to create an accurate, more precise and effective treatment plan for your patients. Why guess and waste the patient’s time and money, when you can perform a simple test?

Dr Nagelberg: What is your favorite part of the MyPerioPath results? Why?

Lori, RDH: The MyPerioProgress ( aka post therapy test results) are performed about 6-8 weeks following treatment. It is your scoreboard and lets the patient see how effective the treatment was. I love that the comparison graphs of the first test and the follow up test are on the same sheet. My patients leave with a copy of their results so that they can see how much they improved or if no improvement, what are their next steps.

Dr Nagelberg: How to do your patient’s respond to this technology? What is their #1 question?

Lori RDH: They are impressed at how advanced dentistry has become. It builds value for their treatment when they can see the bacteria that are causing their disease. The #1 question I hear from patients is “Do I really need it?” or “How much does it cost?” My response is, “The test itself will save you money in the long run. We need the test to know what we are fighting . We use the test results to deliver the most efficient and effective treatment to get you healthy with fewer appointments. It saves you time and money”. I haven’t met a patient who loves to waste time and money.

Dr Nagelberg: What is your biggest challenge?

Lori RDH: The test menu keeps advancing, which is awesome, however I can’t keep up sometimes. The great support team at OralDNA® is always there to explain results or help me determine which tests would benefit my patients. In 2009, when I first started using OralDNA®, there were only two tests that were available. Now, they have tests for oral HPV and other STDs of the oropharynx. There are genetic tests for drug metabolism and genetic likelihood for inflammatory diseases like periodontal disease, cardiovascular disease etc…so many to name and we select these depending on the patient’s needs. I am excited for any test OralDNA® develops as I know it has been thoroughly researched and evidence based that my patients will benefit from it.

October is Dental Hygiene Month to honor the many hygienist and their dedicated work, we are featuring a series of interviews with leading hygienists throughout the US. More hygienist interviews to follow.

Lori Appelhans, RDH

Lori Appelhans, RDH

“I love country life”, Lori and her husband have raised 3 kids in NW Kansas.She is the proud grandmother of 2 and loves gardening and photography.
After completing her hygiene degree at the University of Missouri Dental School-Kansas City, she began her 31 year hygiene career and still counting.Lori works for Lifetime Dental Care, a complete health dentistry office, where she started 10 years ago. Dr. Jeffrey Lowe trusts his hygiene team to use innovative technology, such as Oral DNA, for the better health of their patients. Lori’s main focus is to make a difference in other people’s lives, being an advocate for their care through their health, letting them know that they matter.
Lori Appelhans, RDH

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