The evolution of modern dentistry has taken some rather dramatic twists and turns over its 163 years. From Painless Parker extracting buckets of teeth in a traveling medicine show wagon, to dental insurance hammering our ability to make a decent living, to private equity gobbling up dental practices to operate at the lowest-common denominator, to today’s earth-shattering revelation that our oral health is the gateway to our overall health.
The Hippocratic Oath for Dentistry states, “I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.” When I reread that in preparation for this Oral Systemic Health (OSH) issue, it dawned on me that OSH has always been at the core of dentistry, yet we are somehow just beginning to understand that.
The Profitable Dentist’s commitment to OSH goes back to those committed, enthusiastic pioneers who championed the unfashionable idea that a connection existed between a persona’s oral health and their systemic health. Fast-forward to today, and science has proven that idea is no longer in question.
With this revelation comes unimaginable opportunities, both clinically and strategically, for dentistry. While medicine is generally a “reactive” discipline, designed to address a “chief complaint,” dentistry has established itself as a PROACTIVE practice, meaning it is perfectly poised to use these groundbreaking discoveries and technologies to identify serious health conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, certain cancers, and other serious diseases before they even become symptomatic.
Even more exciting is that patients have become far more sophisticated about the oral systemic connection and are seeking out dentists advancing their role in their patient’s overall health.
The intention of this Oral Systemic Health issue is to expose dental students and practicing dentists to this important area of care, and some of the people behind the most exciting movement in dentistry since the adoption of Hygiene protocols, barely 100 years ago.
I hope this OSH issue expands your view of dentistry’s role in your patient’s overall health and introduces you to some of the amazing colleagues who are truly establishing a new era in dentistry.