Stomatognathic? Even dentists can expand their vision of their roles in patient health. Dentistry is more than teeth and gums. Ongoing interaction between dentists and 'allied health disciplines' can include:
Dieticians and Nutritionists: Dietary management relates directly to dental decay, bone and gingival health maintenance. Edentulous patients benefit from meals which they are capable of eating and which provide needed nutrition.
Psychologists: Stress management plays a key role in addressing underlying etiologies of bruxism, clenching, myofascial pain and temporomandibular dysfunction.
Neurologists: Identifying referred pain patterns from teeth and orofacial musculature are areas of dentists' expertise and can save on more extensive and invasive diagnostics and therapies. Chronic periodontal infection has been linked to stroke.
Cardiologists: Chronic dental infection is implicated in heart disease and heart attack. Prevention strategies-linking cardiologists with dentists in ongoing collaborative cross-referrals-can reduce morbidity and increase quality of life.
Pharmacists: Over 400 drugs have the possibility of producing adverse oral health consequences. Counseling patients when they receive these drugs, dental morbidity can be reduced.
Pulmonologists: Chronic periodontal disease has significant links to pneumonia. Drugs prescribed by pulmonologists have devastating oral side effects which must be prevented by dental referral.
Pediatric physicians: Prenatal nutrition, fluoridation, post-natal bottle feeding, airway/allergy management, orthognathic monitoring, sealants, nutrition counseling, personal hygiene, are among the topics which cross-over between dentists and pediatric physicians. In the picture below: Decay (1) enters the central chamber of the tooth containing the nerve, producing infection between the primary molar roots (2) and at the root tip (3). Pathologic microorganisms involving tooth abscess may be spread through the blood stream to involve distant organs. SBE, sinusitis, tonsillitis, pneumonia, enterocolitis, inner ear infection and other systemic consequences can arise in a 'simple' dental infection.
Diabetologists: The initial discovery of diabetic conditions can and does occur in dental screening examination. Infection of dental origin can contribute to diabetic morbidity as significantly as infection in any other part of the body. In advanced periodontal disease, for example, the total surface area of ulcerated tissue surrounding diseased teeth and bone is estimated to approach six square centimeters. Diabetes related periodontal disease is often overlooked because physicians are unaccustomed to screening for dental causes