Oral HPV Awareness Campaign: Part 1

As a Total Health Dental Practice, there was one particular oral disease my team was not comfortable discussing—even though it is deadly and its epidemic has escalated to horrific proportions. You guessed it…HPV-related Oral Pharyngeal Cancer (OPC). Don’t get me wrong; our responsibility to complete our 9-point screen for oral cancer is routinely completed. But we knew the screening exam—was completely ineffective in screening for the risk of HPV-OPC. In brainstorming about our weakness, ...
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The Medical History Form and Salivary Diagnostics

A medical history form is a starting point to guide conversations and to make connections between oral health and overall health. Consider re-configuring your current medical history form to quickly be able to visualize oral systemic connections and/ or concerns. These 5 questions should be asked on your current health history form. 1) Has a parent, sibling or grandparent had a heart attack or stroke? Yes__ No__ 2) Has a parent, sibling or grandparent had diabetes? Yes__ No__ 3) Has a p...
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Assessing Risk with Salivary Diagnostics

The development of commercial laboratory tests utilizing the collection of saliva is, in my opinion, an important step forward in understanding and managing inflammatory periodontal disease. There are, in fact, no tests available that will predict the onset of attachment loss. However, by gathering information on a patient’s genetic inflammatory profile as well as periodontal pathogen profile we have access to objective data when ascertaining risk, or the possible onset of periodontal disease ...
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Patient Expectations in the Dental Office

Most patients seem to have reasonable expectations of the care they receive from their dental providers. It is reasonable for our patients to expect us to provide the right amount of treatment for their dental needs- no more and no less, for a reasonable fee. For the majority of patients, the dental service most often received is of a periodontal nature, such as a prophylaxis or periodontal maintenance procedure. This generally occurs two to four times a year. Restorative treatments such as ...
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Ready to Stop Being a Prophy Machine?

Is your hygiene department ready to stop the daily routine of prophy after prophy? Are you ready to have a happier dentist and hygiene team, healthier patients, and overall transform your office into a stellar perio-focused practice? Instead of limiting yourself to 30-minute patient appointments for a prophy, affording hygienists one hour per appointment, or longer if SRP is scheduled, allows you to offer comprehensive perio services, like salivary testing, non-surgical perio therapy, and...
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My Staff Won’t Do It

There are many justifications, rationalizations, and excuses in non-testing practices, all of which signal some level of disinterest in enhancing patient care. One of the most difficult to understand is; “My staff/hygienist just won’t do it.” If the doctor is the driving force behind testing implementation and one or more team members are resistant, a staff meeting is in order. Leadership comes from the top and it is the doctor’s responsibility to set the direction for the practice, including th...
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Stop Diagnosing the Pocketbook

Cost is a consideration for all of us, which we take into account when deciding whether or not to purchase a wide variety of goods and services. Our responsibility as clinicians is to make recommendations to help patients achieve the best health possible, without letting our preconceived ideas about the patient’s ability to afford treatment get in the way – what I refer to as diagnosing the pocketbook. One of the things we do not know and cannot predict is how much value the patient puts on thei...
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The Third Annual North American Saliva Symposium

I attended the third annual North American Saliva Symposium (NASS) this year which was held at New York University College of Dentistry, December 9-10. It was an event filled with globally recognized researchers in salivary diagnostics presenting updates on their respective research efforts. The following is a glance into what the future holds for salivary diagnostics as well as the exciting application of salivary tests currently available. Dental innovations of the future were captured ...
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More Insights Provided by Salivary Testing

One of the insights gained when using salivary testing is finding that good point to stop treatment. This therapeutic endpoint may be defined by the return to gingival health, reduction of pocket depth, and a stable clinical attachment level. In other words, the therapeutic endpoint tells us when we have done all we can do for the time, and let the remaining healing occur unassisted. With the easy availability of post-op bacterial testing, the therapeutic endpoint can now be expanded to include ...
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The Insights Provided by Salivary Testing

Without salivary testing we have no way of knowing the cause of the periodontal disease in the patients under our care. The insights provided by salivary testing include: Identification of the causative bacteria Therapeutic endpoint Risk assessment Outcomes assessment Risk of recurrence Appropriate antibiotic Incorporating the information from the salivary bacterial test into the perio patient’s treatment plan enables personalized care. Forget the one-size-fits-all of t...
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