When I opened my practice almost two years ago, I was introduced to OralDNA® Labs’ testing services. I believed the value of laboratory testing would provide a higher quality of care for my patients; however, I was hesitant to incorporate something new into my patient case conversation. My hesitation stemmed from a belief that my patients would think we were adding another “cost” to their treatment plan and that made me uncomfortable. I continued to practice without OralDNA® Labs testing, until an interesting case opened my eyes.
A female patient, new to my practice, in her late 40’s, presented with very light calculus build up, mild inflammation and good oral hygiene but significant radiographic bone loss. The patient, who was previously married to a periodontist, was not aware of the bone loss – a chronic condition – or the possible systemic complications associated with periodontal disease. Once I started educating her about the Mouth Body Connection™, the patient stated she has not been feeling quite right and her medical team were waiting for several tests results to make a diagnosis. When I recommended a MyPerioPath® test, the now informed yet surprised patient was very grateful and said “Yes.”
Following the collection and analysis of the specimen, MyPerioPath® revealed the presence of several periodontal pathogens. We urged her to continue seeking answers from her medical doctors. When she returned for her 3-month periodontal maintenance treatment, she updated that she had been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis & Lupus.
This first case really opened my eyes to the benefits of OralDNA® Labs testing and how it helps to show the connection of the mouth to the body. OralDNA® lab testing is our standard now. Every patient who is diagnosed with periodontal disease based on traditional clinical parameters, receives a MyPerioPath® test to support the diagnosis and guide treatment options.
With my new understanding of the value of testing, I have added a couple of simple sentences to my case conversations: “We are going to take a sample to determine what bacteria are causing your bone loss and what your risk factors are for oral and systemic issues. We will complete your therapy including scaling and root plaining with antibacterial irrigation and bacterial decontamination today. In 6 weeks, you will come back to see the periodontist to evaluate how you responded to therapy and to review your results. The next step will be to determine how to keep your teeth and gums healthy, and how to support your overall health.”
By providing patients with this knowledge and including a few extra sentences in case conversations, I have noticed numerous rewards. Patient outcomes are improved because case acceptance has been tremendous. Our periodontal maintenance retention and bacterial decontamination acceptance has also dramatically increased. Additionally, providing OralDNA® lab testing and including our periodontist has added to our treatment acceptance. I wish I would have started testing sooner but I am very glad to now be offering a higher standard of care for all our patients.
- A Clinician’s Resistance to Acceptance in One Case - December 18, 2020