8.9.16 in General
The Oral-Systemic Connection- Part 5
I can’t tell you how many times I have asked a patient about whether they get frequent headaches, and hear them tell me, “yes, but that doesn’t have anything to do with my teeth.” When you begin to understand the connections that many parts of our bodies have to other parts, it becomes clearer that dentists should not be treating teeth. Rather, dental care providers should treat people who may (or may not) have teeth.
This is not a matter of dentistry trying to get its hands into medicine, nor vice-versa; but rather, health care is finally recognizing that paying attention to the whole person in front of you gives you clues about their overall health. There seems to be a movement afoot (no pun intended), to create as much health for our patients as is possible, no matter what your specialty area is. And that is the way it should be.
I have spent the last eight weeks blogging about the cross-over areas of total body health and the oral picture. Recognizing signs and symptoms of disease, that may be evident in the area I know best, (the head/neck/oral cavity), makes me responsible for reporting those findings to the patient and the appropriate providers, doesn’t it?
There are so many signs that we see in the dental office that indicate disease elsewhere in the body that are urging us to learn how to properly evaluate and refer our patients.
We have been taking blood pressure measurements since the day I opened my practice, and have referred many patients to physicians for treatment. I’d like to think this has saved lives. When we see evidences of diabetes, or metabolic syndrome, or sleep apnea, and many other disorders, we feel it is our responsibility to notify our patients, and know how to refer properly.
There are times when a simple approach to a one-tooth problem exists. But, at Family Dental Care, we will continue to treat teeth, heads, and necks that are attached to whole persons, with all the risks involved. We want you, our patients, around and healthy for a long time. So, stay tuned in, and keep smiling. Dr W.