The True Cost of Clinical Lab Testing

As an in-office coach I often hear the following objection, “Clinical laboratory testing is too expensive. My patients won’t want to spend the money.”

Taking into consideration the latest research, released in the online British Medical Journal November 29, 2016, which states that periodontal disease with high risk pathogens (Aa, Pg, Tf, Td, Fn) is causal for arterial sclerotic vascular disease, the patient can’t afford NOT to test for the presence of these dangerous bacteria. (1) As a profession, we are being called upon by our medical colleagues to mitigate the incidence of heart attack and stroke, through the treatment and resolution of active periodontal infection.

Once we’ve tested we know exactly what type of periodontal disease we are dealing with. Keep in mind that not all periodontal disease is created equally, those diseases driven by high risk pathogens are not always associated with deep pockets. Case in point, my 30-year old daughter was diagnosed with gingivitis. Clinically she presented with 4mm supra-bony pockets and multiple bleeding sites. Her hygienist told her there was nothing she could do for her…WHAT? She was instructed to buy a Waterpik.

As the daughter of a hygienist, my daughter knew that her bleeding gums were a concern and not to be taken lightly. I suggested clinical laboratory testing to see exactly what type of periodontal bacteria were causing her infection. Quite frankly I was shocked when the test came back showing high levels of Aa, Fn and Pi.

Lesson learned…subjective diagnosis almost always falls short leading to under diagnosis. You cannot determine the extent of the disease activity by looking, regardless of pocket depth. An objective diagnosis, like clinical laboratory testing, on the other hand, allows you to accurately diagnosis disease and its source and should influence your treatment plan and improve your clinical outcomes.

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Kim Miller, RDH, BSDH

Kim Miller, RDH, BSDH

Kim Miller, RDH, BSDH is a Lead Profitability Coach with Inspired Hygiene, a national speaker, co-founder of and a columnist for RDH magazine. Graduating from Loma Linda University in 1981 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dental Hygiene, Kim is also a four-time graduate of the Bale/Doneen Mentor Preceptorship Program. In addition to clinical practice, Kim has more than 25 years of coaching experience. She has mentored hundreds of dental professionals in workshop and private practice settings. Kim is passionate about helping clinicians adopt solid science based principles and treatment philosophies resulting in exceptional treatment outcomes, healthier patients and happier more satisfied clinicians.
Kim Miller, RDH, BSDH

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2 thoughts on “The True Cost of Clinical Lab Testing

  1. Barbara Lyons says:

    Is this still worth doing if a person is antibiotic refractory?

    1. Kim Miller says:

      Great question Barbara! Yes, the test is still worth doing if a person is antibiotic refractory due to haplotype! The patient should know if they have dangerous high risk pathogens in their mouth, especially if they have bleeding gums. Systemic antibiotics are not the only choice. In fact, in the case I mentioned, my daughter used Perio Protect trays and successfully knocked out her infection.

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