Every patient is different. Overcoming a patient’s obstacles to treatment may take some finesse. The diagnosis and treatment plan are typically the easier task. In this series, we have asked the experts from our Protocol Directory, “How would they help the patient overcome their obstacle(s)?”
When we asked Dr. Doug Thompson from Wellness Dentistry Network to respond to “But it doesn’t hurt” (when diagnosing periodontal disease), here is his approach.
This is one of the most difficult realities about this disease. If it hurt, then people would address it with diligence. Periodontal disease is typically a slowly progressing, episodic disease – causing damage to the supporting structures of the teeth with minimal or zero pain in most cases. Additionally, the bugs that cause periodontal disease are now cross-referenced with 57 other systemic diseases and pose a risk to your overall health. Maybe treating periodontal disease is more important to whole-body health than it is to the teeth? “We now know periodontal disease is a medical condition with a dental solution.”
The conversation around “It doesn’t hurt” would begin “We are not just concerned about the health of your teeth; we are also concerned about your overall health. At our office, we use a salivary test to measure the biofilm makeup to determine the bacterial risk to your teeth, your health, and to help determine the best way to treat you. We want everyone that has evidence of disease and bleeding gums to have the option to be healthier. When we see the disease, we know we can and should do more for you to help you get the disease under control.”
“I hope now you understand that just because it doesn’t hurt does not mean it is not damaging. Just like cancer, high blood pressure, and many other diseases; if you can detect them early (before they hurt) they are easy to treat. This is one of those diseases. If you wait until the disease advances it can and will cause pain, loss of teeth, and negatively affect your overall health.”