Medical problems such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and atherosclerosis are the leading cause of patient medical complications and death. Research has demonstrated there is a link between these diseases and periodontal disease. Research has also shown that treating the gum disease has lowered some of the markers related to these systemic cardiovascular problems. AAOSH is instrumental in helping dentists and physicians learn these interrelationships and how to work together to help the patients receive the benefits of combined medical/dental care.
AAOSH is a meeting I will not miss. With the growing evidence in dentistry linking oral diseases to systemic disease, AAOSH is a very timely and important organization.
“It was requested that any story be submitted as a testimonial to the importance of AAOSH and the knowledge we gain to improve upon our practice. I submit to you my experience and the life changing affects this has had on me personally and professionally.
I am a practicing Registered Dental Hygienist of 28 years in Hamilton, Ontario Canada. I own an independent dental hygiene practice that focuses on prevention. Since attending the scientific conferences my practice has flourished not only because of the knowledge I have gained but also it has given me the courage to “step outside the box” when communicating with my clients, my professional colleagues as well as medical specialists when it comes to treatment options.
In April 2011 I felt my husband’s neck. In April 2011 I knew something wasn’t right. Working in a preventive model, oral cancer screenings are routine with every recare appointment. The anatomy and texture of the neck and face is something that has become ingrained within my fingertips. The curvature of the jaw line, the symmetry or asymmetry of the face and contour of the neck is something that is automatically scanned when greeting the patient. Treatment doesn’t only begin in the chair; in this case it began sitting at home at the kitchen table on a sunny Sunday morning having coffee.
Long story short – Following the manipulation of my husband’s neck when noticing a slight thickness in the contour line and a texture that could be felt at the tip of my middle finger, a doctor’s appointment was made. The general practitioner could not detect any abnormality so my husband was told to go home. A second appointment was made at my insistence and once again, my husband was told he was fine however was given antibiotics. My husband refused to return feeling like a burden to the GP so a telephone call requesting a specialist appointment be made to follow up. At this time the texture in his neck had become thick and dense. Consequently the ENT could not feel any oddity in the neck nevertheless ordered an ultrasound to be preformed. It was here a large parotid tumor was confirmed.
In August 2012 my husband had surgery to remove the tumor followed by 32 radiation treatments. The tumor had grown and wrapped itself around the facial nerve hence requiring dissection and radiation. June 2013 is when life finally returned to normal and it was with great pleasure that my husband accompanied me to Las Vegas for the 2013 AAOSH presentations as this was his first pleasurable outing since this ordeal began. He was present at the premier viewing of Say AHH- The Cavity in Health Care Reform. He sat with tears streaming down his cheeks then leaned over and quietly whispered thank you. AAOSH has changed our lives. It has made me a diligent professional, because of that, I remain being a wife and my four children still have their father. His case was documented with photos throughout treatment and is now being used to educate and train fellow professionals on oral cancer throughout the world. This is only one example of the many that have passed through my practice benefiting from oral/systemic care. From oral cancer to cardio vascular disease, we can all make a difference, we just need to step up and out of the comfort box.”
Yours for better health,
By becoming a member of AAOSH and attending the Annual Scientific Session I have given myself a professional gift that I can now share with the world. The knowledge that I have gained about the oral systemic relationship is immeasurable. I have a renewed passion for my profession and an intense desire to share the wellness message, not only my patients, but with the general public. This has been a wake up call. I am now POSITIVE that I can personally impact another person’s life for the better by sharing my knowledge and by treating periodontal disease. My life has been changed and I invite all of my colleagues to gain this renewed sense of determination by embracing the oral systemic evidence, and move forward with this new wave in dentistry!
Medical and dental integration is the future of overall health. Cleveland Clinic was an excellent choice as a partner in wellness. This is an exciting time in our profession.
Oral systemic health is the most important change coming to dentistry and medicine!
Current evidence supports the relationship between both systemic health and oral health and thus as necessary components of health-care management. While there remains much to understand biologically between oral & systemic health, it is clear that some systemic diseases have the potential to diminish oral health and that some oral diseases have the potential to diminish systemic health. Yet, not all patients are at equal risk in both scenarios: Thus, the clinician is often left with the dilemma of a clear understanding and a practical application of these relationships in patient care.
The primary goal of AAOSH is to bring scientists and clinicians from all areas of medicine together to discuss the evidence; the clear and the not-so clear. This is accomplished with the presentation of literature reviews, new discoveries, and in the presentation of case studies where collaboration between health care providers adds to our understanding of these relationships and to the clinical out-come within patient management. And, that with this model, a more defined inter-disciplinary collaboration will become “the norm” within those communities of clinicians that attend these scientific sessions.
In summary, this academy conjoins all health issues as “medicine” as opposed to “oral medicine” Vs. “systemic medicine”. And, most importantly, conjoins patients in a larger community of practitioners that offer the potential to live longer and happier lives.
Over 30 years of practicing dentistry, I’ve seen the health of our country diminish before my very eyes. And the declining health has really come to the attention of all of us. We know now that out of the 17 wealthiest countries, the US ranks last in life expectancy for males and next to last for females—even though the cost of our healthcare is twice any other country’s. We also have the highest infant mortality rate and poorer health among all our children and adolescents. And I believe it’s time for dentistry to take a bite out of that sinking health. Because with the sinking health of Americans comes an increase in periodontal disease, cavities, occlusal disease, and oral cancer. Dentistry ought to be getting very involved in screening, diagnosis, treatment, and putting the mouth back in the body and helping people find the root causes to oral disease, but also using the mouth to see what’s going on with the rest of the body.