In this era of trying to differentiate yourself from the provider down the street, a simple solution is incorporating OralDNA® salivary testing services. Imagine a patient who has had periodontal disease and has seen several dentists and periodontists in the past. They may have been told they have pockets, but what do pockets mean to a patient? Perhaps a lot, but only if they have been properly educated about the consequences of a pocket deepening.
Let’s look at this from another perspective. Does the patient understand the disease process? For most, the answer is a clear “No.” Even if the clinician explains the disease process, the patient often has the question, “Why am I getting the disease in the first place?” followed by “Why am I getting the same problem again and again and again?” With a simple 30 second swish and gargle to collect a saliva sample, we may be able to provide an answer to these types of questions.
MyPerioPath® results, obtained from lab analysis of the saliva sample, are presented in an easily readable graph that makes sense to patients. The test screens for 11 oral pathogens and groups the pathogens by risk, portrayed by the colors red, yellow (orange), and green. Patients can intuitively relate the color of red as danger, and yellow as caution.
The MyPerioPath® lab report can create an “Aha Moment” for the patient. They might think, “Oh, now I see why I am getting the disease. I have a bacterial infection. Will that respond to an antibiotic?” Now the patient is engaged and asking questions. A potential response from a periodontist could be, “Yes, part of it will respond to an antibiotic because some of the bacteria are in your gum tissue. But to address the bacteria on the root surfaces, antibiotics won’t be effective, and scaling and root planing will be required.” For the general dentist, you may be limited in what you can do as traditional scaling and root planing is successful only to a depth of 4 mm. below the gingival margin. If your patient needs more help than that, a periodontist may be a good choice for that patient.
Securing MyPerioPath® results is something you can do that no one else has likely ever done for the patient. Offering OralDNA® testing is an opportunity to differentiate yourself from other practices and increase treatment acceptance. There is no investment in equipment, only the desire to increase your level of diagnosis and effectively treat the patients’ periodontal disease. When a patient asks “Why?” you can provide answers with OralDNA® salivary tests and do something no one else has done before.
We hope you enjoyed the throwback blog. This interview originally posted 09/27/2019.