continued from pg. 51
than “within normal limits.” Assessments must be recorded and kept current to be of value.
• The periodontal evaluation can be included either with a patient’s preventive
or maintenance treatment and doctor
examination at no additional fee, or the
patient can be billed separately for a
comprehensive periodontal evaluation,
• Patients need to “hear their numbers,”
and they need know when their gums
are bleeding during data collection.
This fosters ownership of a condition
that is most frequently asymptomatic.
Patients need to see visuals to appreciate that bleeding gum tissue and deep
pocket measurements can literally lead
to the loss of their teeth, not to mention
the spread of disease-promoting bacteria into other parts of their bodies.
• Periodontal data needs to be used to
make an appropriate diagnosis and
treatment or a referral. A patient is either periodontally healthy or has active
disease. If disease is present, it is either
localized or generalized. Current periodontal data uncovers evidence of
gingivitis and periodontitis in the earliest stages, when interventions and
treatment are most successful.
Dental professionals can collect periodontal data manually with voice-activat-ed technology and constant-force probes
( foridaprobe.com), or by using remote-ac-cess terminals ( dentalrat.com). But if
you’re not performing periodontal evaluations on all of your patients, I hope your
toes are feeling mighty uncomfortable
about now. I also hope you choose to make
the periodontal health of your patients a
continued from pg. 65
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continued from pg. 84
awareness regarding prioritization of regular eye exams did not emphasize the
importance of minimizing oral inflammation? My thought was to possibly send a
cooperative care letter to the PA that
would summarize the visit today, noting
the periodontal condition and inflammation, and asking for her assistance in the
reinforcement of the oral systemic link in
her appointments with him. This could
be designed like the cooperative care letters sent to our general dental practice
from the periodontist.
Mr. Z. thanked me at the close of his
appointment, and scheduled a four-month
recare visit with me. Will he follow
through, as months pass, and quoting him,
“Nothing is bothering me?” Will the story
that I told him about the other uncontrolled diabetic patient resonate with him
as he is driving from our parking lot? Only
time will tell.
I leave you with a three-fold message
to consider. First, for those of you who are
skeptical, there are general dentists out
there who can scale and root plane efectively. Secondly, devising strategies to
reach unmotivated patients remains the
hygienists’ greatest challenge; using storytelling and anecdotes can go a long way.
Finally, how can we continue to raise
awareness in the medical community (Mr.
Z’s PA) as to the signifcance of the oral
systemic link? Onward we go; it is in our
1. Publication title: RDH. 2. Publication number: 581-950
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d. Percent Paid and/or requested 98.91% 98.84%
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