Frequently Asked Questions
What is Oral Systemic Health?
Oral systemic health is the connection between oral health and overall health. Countless studies have demonstrated a link between poor oral health and systemic disease such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, and even pregnancy complications.
Is Gum Disease the only health condition tied to the body?
No. There are other oral health conditions which have significant impact and consequence to the rest of the body and your general health. We know that gum disease is linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pregnancy complications, Alzheimer’s, certain cancers, etc. Other conditions include oral cancer, oral airway and sleep apnea, TMJ – headaches & migraines, dental decay, and biocompatibility of dental filling materials (in genetically susceptible individuals). These connections between the mouth and the body highlight the importance of good oral health and dental stability in assuring better general health.
Why should my dentist/clinic adopt the whole health approach?
Dentists who practice the oral systemic approach to dentistry pay attention to the emerging sciences that are tying overall health to dental health. They employ the newest procedures that can treat gum disease and prevent chronic health episodes such as a heart attack or a stroke. Dentists who practice a whole health approach can use their judgment to ensure each patient will receive the highest standard of care possible.
What is the stance of the American Dental Association (ADA) on oral systemic health?
The American Dental Association has acknowledged certain concepts of oral systemic dentistry, but they have not made any official statements in support of the concept. The board of directors at the ADA has a history of being consistently conservative over emerging treatments and techniques in dentistry. Recent actions of the ADA on other topics such as sedative dentistry have divided the dental community. Despite the ADA is the largest dental trade association in the United States, its conservative approach to emerging treatments should lead the public to question if they can be trusted.
What Can I do at Home to Protect my Oral Health?
Periodontal disease and tooth decay are diseases of bacterial origin. Meticulous oral hygiene and using antibacterial rinses and solutions are steps you can and should take at home. By making good oral health a priority, you can be better assured of a health mouth and of lowered risk factors for developing other general health problems.
Is Bad Breath a Sign of Gum Disease?
In a word, yes! Bad breath, or halitosis, happens when bacteria and dead skin cells and other organic debris, decay and putrefy, producing sulfur compounds which give the characteristic bad breath smell. These bad-breath chemicals can cause breakdown of delicate gum tissues allowing bacteria and their toxins to enter the gum tissue easier as well as the body’s circulatory system. Chronic bad breath should always be viewed as a bad sign and a risk factor for tissue breakdown and disease. Generally, cosmetic attempts to mask it with standard mouth rinses fall short of what’s needed to cure bad breath and rid oneself of the bacteria which causes it.
What is a Bloody Prophy?
A bloody prophy is when dentists use a prophy (prophylaxis) cleaning treatment which is designed for healthier patients on those who show signs of bleeding gums. Bleeding gums are the first signs of gum disease. This is not just wrong, but opens the door to major legal liability for dentists. There have been malpractice lawsuits filed by patients nationwide alleging that dentists failed to recognize the early signs of gum disease. Some of these cases have been successful in which dentists have been held financially accountable for malpractice. The proper treatment protocol as prescribed by Gums of Steel is to do root planing and scaling on a patient along with a 10-day course of antibiotic treatment.
How can an oral systemic approach benefit My Practice?
A whole health approach can benefit your practice in multiple ways. For the dentists, they can do more than just cleaning teeth. They can alert a patient if they may show early signs of a serious health issue. Certain periodontal bacteria is tied to atherosclerosis which promotes heart attacks. For they hygienists, they will benefit by seeing the patients at more frequent intervals. For the patients, they will be coming back to your office because they will know that they have provider cares for their overall health?
What Does Double Your Hygiene Production Mean?
When Gums of Steel says double your hygiene production, this comes from increased periodontal maintenance visits. On average, a patient will visit their general dentist twice a year for cleanings or periodontal maintenance. The protocol in Gums of Steel calls for four visits a year instead of two on three month intervals. Seeing your patients four times a year means your hygiene team will reap the benefits of increased production and income. The patients will be able to develop more meaningful relationships with their dental care teams.
What Additional Resources You Offer?
Gums of Steel can produce videos for your office on Oral Systemic health. Our videos are professionally edited and help empower your patients to make better decisions, your hygiene team will be more focused on the patients than answering the same old questions, and your office can be greener as you will not waste paper for patient information handouts. For more information, call Kammer Consulting at 608-318-3468 or firstname.lastname@example.org.