There was a time not so long ago when people thought of medical doctors as health providers, and dentists as, well, dentists. Doctors diagnosed illnesses, attended to general health, delivered babies, and dealt with traumatic emergencies. Dentists fixed or pulled teeth and gave lectures about brushing and flossing.
Times have changed!
Today, dentists are acknowledged as the primary oral health care provider, and oral health is recognized as a major cornerstone of general health. In addition, the state of your oral health often provides the first indications of major health problems.
How does oral health affect general health? Scientists now suspect that bacteria in the mouth, often in infected gums, can move throughout the body. The worse the infection, the greater risk the bacteria will enter the bloodstream. Once there, it can…
- increase arterial plaque, which restricts blood flow and increases the risk of heart attack and stroke
- stimulate a hormone that can bring on a pre-term birth
- increase your risk for kidney cancer
- negatively affect risk and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease
- exacerbate respiratory disease
- impact rheumatoid arthritis
- and more
Dentists are often the first to notice symptoms of hypertension, diabetes, oral cancers, and osteoporosis. Our role in general preventive medicine is becoming increasingly important. A recent survey indicates that most dentists take an active role in counseling patients on a variety of health issues. For example, smoking is now seen as possibly the major cause of periodontal disease, and dentists are at the forefront of proactive anti-smoking counseling.
Our Dental Team Works For You!
When patients come in for a checkup, they usually think they are going to see the dentist. In reality – the modern dental team is a group of professionals, each specially trained to provide you with services vital to your dental health. Success depends on the contribution of each team member.
- It starts with the receptionist who sits at an intersection, handling scheduling, phone calls, insurance, and billing. They’re the “face” of Total Health Dental – it’s one of the most important jobs here because when you call or arrive at our practice, they’re the first person you see and hear. They’re also the first person your referrals hear when they call our practice, so they’re on top of their game 100% of the time to ensure a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere.
- The office manager oversees the entire office and makes sure it’s running smoothly. You can think of them as traffic cops, creating and managing administrative policy and procedures, managing multiple important practice aspects all at once, like our team’s schedules, questions from our patients about treatment and finances, they coordinate with our suppliers, and so much more.
- Modern dental work often requires four hands, and the dental assistant is an extra pair of hands in the operatory. The job entails handling infection control, supply tracking, radiographs, impressions…
- The dental hygienist has training in science, health promotion, and communication, helps keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, and makes a general assessment of your mouth and overall health. The hygienist’s key concern is the prevention of dental disease.
- The dentist’s job is to make disease diagnosis and to treat it, restoring your teeth to health and function, and making sure you have the information to make educated choices about your oral health.
- Then of course, there’s YOU, the patient. As your dental team, we are committed to preventing dental problems before they start. This means that you play an important role – brush, floss, come in for checkups, and ask questions!
Your Oral Health Is Part Of Your Overall Health
One of the most common question we’re asked is, “Why do you need my medical information?” It may seem strange for us to ask questions you are more used to hearing from your physician. The truth is we ask them for many of the same reasons. But all the reasons have to do with making sure that your dental treatments are effective and as safe as possible.
Your medical history will tell us if you have any health conditions that could impact your dental care. Hemophilia, diabetes, heart disease, drug reactions, allergies, anemia, thyroid conditions, pregnancy, heart disease or murmurs, autoimmune disease, and hormonal disorders may require us to take special precautions in coordinating your dental treatment.
We also review your medical history because many medical conditions leave their earliest signs and symptoms in your mouth. Sores, lumps, discoloration, irritation, or infection can all be signs of some underlying general illness you may not even be aware of.
All of your medical information is treated with appropriate confidentiality and, if indicated, your physician may be contacted for confirmation of a condition or to advise him or her of our findings.
At Total Health Dental, we all want to be on your personal health care team and earn your trust. We will always do everything we can to help your family – children, teens, and adults – to achieve their best oral health. We welcome you to call (503) 433-8256 today to book your appointments! We’ll help you choose a convenient time and get you right in