Your Dental Team…
Everything in our body is connected. Modern medicine teaches us that dentists and doctors should not be on an island. Dentists routinely consult with a variety of non-dental practitioners to figure out how to best treat our patients. We rarely consult a medical doctor about a routine filling, but we do like to talk to other doctors about some of the more complicated conditions that we treat. We live in a time where it often takes a team to determine the best course of action for complex health problems.
It seems like every day a new study comes out that links some form of dental problem to some sort of overall health problem. Also, it is quite common for dentists to see patients on a more consistent basis than physicians. For this reason, most dentists perform some basic health monitoring to include blood pressure checks, pulse oximetry, oral cancer and sleep apnea screenings. Any abnormal findings are referred to a patient’s doctor for further evaluation. Here are a few types of doctors that your dentist may recommend you seeing.
Primary Care Doctors – Our healthcare system is maintained by these frontline physicians. They are the key to steering and managing your overall health. Dentists often send patients back to their family doctor to have potential health issues checked out that we observe in our office.
Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists – You would be amazed at how many airway issues dentists discover. From adults with symptoms of sleep apnea to kids with oversized tonsils affecting their jaw growth, we see all sorts of breathing problems. Many of our dental x-rays actually reveal some of these problems. We don’t diagnose, but we do refer to the experts.
Chiropractors – One of the most life affecting problems we treat is TMD or jaw joint pain. Nobody lives happily dealing with constant pain. Often, the way the jaw is working can have a negative effect on your spine. Imagine a stack of poker chips. Now imagine the top few chips (your head, upper jaw, lower jaw, and neck) are all out of line with the rest of the stack. What is the rest of the stack going to do? We often catch these problems early when diagnosing kids for braces or later for adults with jaw problems. A good chiropractor can often help with these spinal issues.
Physical and Massage Therapists – See the above paragraph. When the parts aren’t lined up, the muscles get stretched or knotted in all the wrong directions. Massage and exercise therapy can do wonders.
This is but a short list of people who help dentists to take care of their patients. We’re lucky to have some great referrals around. Thanks to them all.
Until next time, keep smiling.
-Comments can be sent to Drs. Parrish at www.ParrishDental.com.