Dr. McGlennen: Tell me how you heard about OralDNA® salivary diagnostics.
Joan To DDS: Originally, I was introduced to OralDNA® testing through Pacific Dental Services (PDS). However, implementing testing was slow to start until Dr. Shervin Molayem, my colleague and in-office periodontist, helped me. He shared his personal experience and success stories with OralDNA® testing and how he was able to take better care of his patients. I wanted that for my patients. Obviously, his motivation was career changing as I started testing in March 2020, even the pandemic did not stop me. If anything, it made me want even more for my patients.
Dr. McGlennen: What are the top two things you consider when selecting a patient for testing?
Joan To DDS: The obvious patients to test would be patients with non-surgical and surgical periodontal concerns. My team and I are now extremely comfortable testing patients before therapy and then again after therapy. Everyone, patients included, thoroughly enjoys the MyPerioProgress® report, which provides a percentage difference section. I feel the comparison report provides an “AH-HA” moment for the patient that allows for a better understanding of what they need to do to stay/be healthier. It motivates them.
My other passion is helping patients understand the connection between the mouth and body. Other patients I test include complicated medical histories, to help the patient see the connection with the lab report. It is extremely important to understand the patient’s family medical history. As a dental clinician, we take care of so much more than teeth.
Dr. McGlennen: What are the biggest benefits to using salivary diagnostics?
Joan To DDS: Front and back almost every word of the MyPerioPath® report. Page 2, The Systemic Effects, help the MouthBody™ Connection come together. The bar graph on page 1 shows which bacteria you have in the mouth, as well as their levels. I like the treatment recommendations as it supports what we already provide for our patients in our practice.
Dr. McGlennen: How do your patients respond to this technology? What is their #1 question?
Joan To DDS: My patients love it, they think it’s really cool and informative. They are impressed with the technology. After going over the results, patients are curious about what the next steps are.
Dr. McGlennen: If a new OralDNA® provider were to ask you for advice, what would be your best tip?
Joan To DDS: Just do it. What do you have to lose? Start with the obvious active periodontal patients and high-risk medical condition patient. As you gain confidence in reading the results, start testing every SRP patient pre-therapy. With every test and results you will gain more confidence, eventually leading to testing every adult patient that walks through your door just to establish a good baseline for monitoring them year to year. Patients are used to this method of care. Medical doctors test them, treat them, and retest them. As dental professional, we just need to do it.
Dr. McGlennen: Where do you see salivary diagnostics in the future? What would be the impact on your practice/patients?
Joan To DDS: Coming from experience, the impact on my patients and practice is huge. I started providing these services literally days before the pandemic and the shutting of my practice doors for several weeks. Fast forward 8 months and it has been a game changer. I now have scientific evidence in my hands which allows for better explanations, education, and conversations. OralDNA® Labs testing is another set of tools that gives me the ability to understand the MouthBody™ connection better, therefore I am able to take care of my patients better. I’m able to care for my patients in a way I could not have done before. The information stemming from this higher quality of care motivates my patients to stay healthier and take better care of themselves. This is why I became a dentist. I’m doing the type of dentistry I love. I am a proactive dentist. Always striving to do what’s best for my patients in the long term.
**To learn more about becoming an OralDNA Provider: Text “OralDNA” to 31996**
Outside of work, her interests include traveling, scuba diving, and snowboarding, but most of all spending quality time with her husband and three daughters.