Why I Teach Salivary Testing as a Dental Hygiene Instructor


I am a dental hygienist and have spent most of my career in a periodontal practice. Most recently I split my time at Dr. Steven Peiser’s office and serve as a faculty member at Goodwin College in Connecticut teaching Oral Pathology to dental hygiene students. It has been so exciting to teach this course and share my knowledge and experience.  Specifically, I most enjoy teaching about the relationship of pathogenic bacteria to the oral-systemic link which is crucial to understand when comprehensively caring for patients. I believe oral salivary testing, for both pathogenic bacteria and inflammatory gene markers, has changed the way I plan treatment for my patients. The results provide a better understanding of the patient’s oral condition and how it can influence the rest of the body. I have incorporated this information into my oral pathology course when discussing the oral-systemic link because I believe the value of this information is necessary to understand and utilize when treating patients.

Now is an exciting time to be a dental hygienist. Having the capability to show patients the volume of pathogenic bacteria present in their oral cavity, which helps to explain the need for periodontal treatment to maintain oral health, and which ultimately affect one’s overall health, is invaluable. I needed to share my excitement with my students, future dental hygienists, who will soon be at the front lines in the prevention of periodontal disease. This has been a great opportunity to educate dental hygiene students to incorporate all the tools available to care for their patients using the latest technology. I challenge my students to provide the best care possible for each patient because patients count on us every day as healthcare providers.  Salivary testing technology serves to further explain and solidify the importance of maintaining periodontal health, as well as provide a visual and concrete aid for patients to truly understand their oral health status.

I have been teaching this bacterial testing philosophy for several years in my oral pathology course, as well as having a webinar for my students with the professional staff at OralDNA® Labs. It is important for students to understand the benefits that salivary testing provides. Identifying the bacteria reveals how the microbiology, periodontology and oral pathology link together. The knowledge and value a student acquires from understanding OralDNA® Salivary testing will assist in understanding how to comprehensively care for their future patients, which ultimately makes for a true oral health care professional.

If you are a dental/dental hygiene professor or other health care professor and want a live, interactive webinar for your students, please contact 855-OralDNA (672-5362) or email support@oraldna.com.

**To learn more about becoming an OralDNA Provider: Text “OralDNA” to 31996**

Lisa Proffitt, RDH, BS

Lisa Proffitt, RDH, BS

Lisa graduated from the University of RI with a BS degree in dental hygiene. She has been practicing dental hygiene in a periodontal practice for 25 years. Lisa established the oral pathology protocol for her office and now teaches second year dental hygiene students Oral and General Pathology at Goodwin College. She is finishing my master’s degree in human development with a focus in Gerontology at the University of RI.

Outside of work, Lisa enjoys her three dogs, one of which is a certified therapy dog. Boating and swimming are among some of the activities she shares with her husband.
Lisa Proffitt, RDH, BS

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