The Dawson Academy Blog

Dental Articles on Occlusion, Centric Relation, Restorative Dentistry & More

How to Educate Patients: A Dentist's Role in Treating Sleep Apnea

As our understanding of Dentistry’s role in whole health advances, we have increasingly meaningful conversations with our patients and community. One of my patients is a wonderful physical therapist, who is strongly committed to educating her patients about whole health subjects, including oral health. She has asked me to write several articles for her practice newsletter.

This month we discussed obstructive sleep apnea and systemic inflammation. Below is how we explain a complicated subject as simply as possible, communicating the role of the dental team in whole health.

Perhaps you have opportunities in your community, through your patients and medical colleagues, to get the word out, about Complete Dentistry from TMJ to smile design, and from sleep apnea to systemic inflammation!

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[Webinar] The More Complete 'Complete Dentist'

You can really get involved in the broader spectrum of dentistry, taking the concepts that we’ve learned at The Dawson Academy and expanding those into the whole body.

Today we have so many great things happening in the medical field. As you look here at the titles of books being written, you’ll notice each one of them are written by an M.D.

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The Importance of the “Periodontal-Systemic Connection”

The emerging body of knowledge within oral-systemic science and the changing nature of the healthcare environment are having a dramatic impact on the practice of dentistry. In the coming years (or even months) dental professionals will be required to play a larger role in collaborative healthcare management teams, as community practice continues its transition to an inter-professional care model.

Current estimates indicate that 75% of the North American population has some form of periodontal disease with approximately 15% demonstrating severe disease. These untreated oral infections have systemic effects.

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The Connection Between Oral Bacteria & Overall Health

Supercentenarian Jeanne Calment from Aries, France, was born in 1875 and died in 1997, at the age of 122 years. When asked the secret to her record longevity, she answered, “Always keep your smile. That’s how I explain my long life.”

Though Ms. Calment may have been referring to a positive attitude, her words inadvertently had a scientific basis, related to oral health. Always keep your smile; meaning always keep your teeth and keep them healthy and free of disease. This will allow you to prolong your health and longevity.

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Oral Cancer Cause Aims to Improve Quality of Life

With great enthusiasm, we’d like to introduce Oral Cancer Cause, Inc. (OCC), a non-profit 501(c) 3. OCC was founded this year by Linda Miles and Robin Morrison in memory of Charlotte Estep, Linda Miles’ sister-in-law, and Mike Collins, Robin Morrison’s brother. Charlotte and Mike passed away in 2012 after suffering for several years from oral cancer. Both went undiagnosed for an extended amount of time, thereby allowing their disease to progress to an advanced and untreatable stage. Linda and Robin have a combined 80+ years experience in dentistry. Their shared passion for dentistry and saving lives is the OCC inspiration.

By blending the knowledge of early detection and treatment; comprehensive oral exams along with dedicated dental/medical professionals; sponsoring partners; and dental/medical associations, OCC will make a difference in the lives of many oral cancer patients and their families.

OCC’s purpose is to improve the quality of life for oral cancer patients through financial support so that they may face the world with peace and dignity during and after medical treatment.

Who Can Join the Cause?
Are you a dentist who is committed to the overall health and wellness of your patient? Do you believe every patient should have an annual oral cancer screening, and do you provide that to your patients? Would you like to stand out in your community as a dentist who takes oral cancer and early detection/diagnoses seriously?

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Facts & Benefits of Salivary Diagnostics

Salivary diagnostics may aid in saving lives from oral cancer and help better determine the most effective form of treatment for periodontal disease. It is beneficial for us to know the facts and key benefits of salivary diagnostics when speaking with ours patients. In this whitepaper you will find information about periodontal disease and oral HPV and how salivary diagnostics can assist in early detection and treatment modalities.

This whitepaper covers:
    • Facts about periodontal disease & oral HPV
    • The benefits of salivary diagnostic testing
    • Facts about salivary diagnostic tests
    • Scaling and root planning resistant pathogens
    • HPV patient profile

To download this whitepaper, click here.

Did you like this whitepaper? Our Alumni Association provides monthly webinars on both clinical and management topics. Dr. Angie Gribble Hedlund was our guest speaking on Salivary Diagnostics in June 2012. To find out more about watching this webinar and more, click here.
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Online Dental Education: Nutrition Advocacy

Michigan, where I practice, is the poster child for the economic challenges currently facing our country.   Our state also ranks eighth in the listing of fattest U.S. states, according to US Centers for Disease Control.   Combine these two factors and it’s clear that there’s an opportunity to educate children about sound nutrition before the onset of costly medical problems spurred by obesity.  
Let’s roll up our sleeves and help in the fight.  Here’s how…..
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Dental CE: Children's Science Hands-On Learning Lab

Through a radical paradigm shift in our practice’s approach to children’s health, we boosted our team morale, inspired an influx of new patients and began making a significant contribution to children’s oral and nutritional health.   We designed and implemented a SCIENCE Hands-On Learning Lab ™ that begins with a self-prophy model and includes 40+ science experiments to go with it.  Very quickly we became the talk of our community—in a positive way. You can do it too!

Our aim for children, not unlike yours, has remained clear: to help kids graduate from high school with skills and behaviors for a lifetime of dental health.  During the last decade, we have witnessed more and more kids missing the mark, with increased decay and reduced plaque control.  But something else was disturbing.  Along with rising consumption of sugar-laden beverages and junk food came a decrease in physical activity and a marked increase in body fat storage.

I wanted to address obesity with my patients also—just like 51% of you do, according to a recent JADA cover article (Curran et al, Nov 2011). But few dentists are ready for that. Why? The reasons cited for not addressing obesity include lack of sensitivity training, expertise and effective tools to do so.  Dental caries and obesity are clearly the two greatest health risks for kids, and both conditions are 100% preventable.  Nutrition problems are not just a dental issue but a public health issue that will fall upon an already crippled health-care system. So who is listening?

Not our young patients, unfortunately—and herein lies another challenge. We “talk” our message to kids, but our words often fall on deaf ears. Generation Z is socially distracted beyond measure, preoccupied by whatever hand-held “app” they last loaded.  Perhaps none of our brains are wired for teach-and-tell learning, but these kids are especially tuned out to the drone of an authoritarian teacher.     Looking for a breakthrough, we decided to put learning into their own hands.

For more information on the SCIENCE Hands-On Learning Lab ™ visit www.HandsOnLearningLab.com.
How Dentists Can Treat Systemic Inflammation
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