Chronic low-grade systemic infections—which includes gum disease—are often the root cause of most or all chronic diseases. Active periodontal disease and inflammation can double or even triple one’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke, which kills 655,000 Americans each year, that’s 1 in 4 deaths. Dental hygienists can be partners to coach and treat patients towards better health. Treating gum disease can be a step in saving people’s lives.
Dental hygienists are gatekeepers of systemic inflammation and are liable for what’s in their patient’s mouths. Failure to acknowledge and treat disease puts dental professionals at risk for negligence. They are liable for problems that go ignored, undetected, and untreated. Patients are getting smarter about health and the role the mouth plays in systemic health. Don’t get caught unprepared for their questions.
With proper tools and training, dental professionals will know how to educate patients on the risks associated with gum disease. The office staff will know how to get high treatment acceptance from patients and insurance, and how to create treatment plans and documentation that maximize patient’s dental benefits. Ultimately it’s a win-win situation, for both the dental office and the patients.