Rebecca Owens Boyer, RDH. She works with Barb McClatchie DDS and Eric Goulder MD at Complete Health Dentistry of Columbus, Ohio This team is doing very innovative work, integrating dentistry and medicine in everyday practice.
Complete health dentistry is a way to look at the relationship between your mouth and body, to determine how to treat your overall health – also known as the “oral-systemic connection.” There are very few practices that specialize in complete health dentistry and the team at Complete Health Dentistry is the first in the nation that has a Cardiologist and Dentist working together, to give patients the very best care focusing on what’s most important for long-term health.
1. Why do you believe it is important to proactively diagnose periodontal disease?
First and foremost, to prevent progression of the disease and—equally as important—to prevent systemic complications. I work at the Complete Health Dentistry of Columbus, where we have a dentist and cardiologist collaborating to provide complete health dentistry. A number of our patients have cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes. Our model includes an inflammatory panel, full periodontal charting and comprehensive oral health assessment, CBCT scan for airway analysis, calcification in the carotid artery, and endodontic lesions. We track pathogen testing and inflammatory markers the day of the exam and 10 weeks after treatment.
2. How do you speak to your patients about periodontal disease?
We educate patients before we even do the periodontal charting, so that they can listen with attention to what is healthy and what is not. After the exam, they understand more about their own condition. Then, we review bone health on x-rays. We talk to patients about what can happen if they leave it untreated, and we put all of our recommendations into the context of their health history. Ultimately, we stress targeted therapy. Every patient gets individual treatment planning.
3. What obstacles do you face in getting patients to agree to treatment and how do you overcome them?
Actually the biggest obstacle is fitting them into the schedule. The Complete Health Practice model that we follow educates patients and focuses on the impact of dental disease. Most of our patients understand their comorbidities and that gum disease increases the risks to their health. They understand the comprehensive services we offer and they come for treatment.
4. How do you incorporate the Perio Protect Method in your treatment protocols?
For our patients with periodontal disease, we recommend Perio Trays to help patients with homecare and maintenance. If they do not have extensive restorative needs, we take impressions the day of the comprehensive exam when the disease is diagnosed. We complete pathogen testing for every patient and we prescribe Perio Trays to help reduce the bacterial load, even before active periodontal therapy. We track the decrease in bacterial loads after Perio Tray therapy and periodontal therapy. For those patients with extensive restorative needs, we use Perio Protect for long-term maintenance.