Just Mail-in Your Head and We’ll Send it Back with Perfect Teeth
It sometimes appears that this simplicity would be the most beautiful and desirable dental practice achievable. No need to study the medical history or take time reviewing it with the patient. After all, the patient came in for their teeth and, as dentists; we are not allowed to get involved with the diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.
If any industry could be guilty of violating antitrust laws it would be the medical industry, including the pharmaceutical industry. Politics and demagoguery rule here.
James Watson, winner of the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the DNA double-helix, made this statement; “We are being run by rich trash without regard for the truth or reality.” Is this how our medical system should be?
Simply by reviewing a patient’s medical history, including dietary and lifestyle habits, we can not only help explain dental problems, but help to reveal a need for a medical referral. Last year while reviewing one of my TMJ/TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction) patient’s history and symptoms, things didn’t add up. I referred the patient for a CT scan which revealed a very aggressive sinus infection approaching her brain. I made a referral to an ENT that afternoon who immediately told her “you are not going home” and the potential life saving surgery was done at once. She had been to several specialists already that skipped over the diagnosis, assuming it had something to do with her teeth and TMJ.
It doesn’t take more than one such experience to make this thorough review a regular part of one’s practice. Many times, when a patient has arthritic symptoms, a few changes in dietary habits can result in the symptoms being diminished and sometimes vanishing. According to the medical industry rules, as a DDS I shouldn’t discuss medical problems. Therefore I refer the patient to the proper literature for guidance and encourage them to become more knowledgeable about their health. If you study the side effects of some of the arthritic drugs you would be so much better off changing your diet.
Treatment for TMJ problems, as taught by many institutions, is centered on the function of the teeth, the facial muscles and the joints. In my book, WHY, The Question That Could Save Your Life, my main complaint against many medical and dental practices is that they are designed to treat symptoms, not causes. Yes, the teeth can be part of the problem with TMD, but teeth are not naturally meant to be together, they should only come together when swallowing. The actual cause of the patient clenching or grinding should be diagnosed and corrected, especially before spending thousands of dollars on dentistry that might not solve the problem. The cause can vary from hormone imbalance, to excessive stress, to bad diet, to sleep apnea and more. Many causes, when corrected, can result in dramatic changes in one’s health and happiness. The “Mail in Your Head” dentist will miss out on the joy of really making a difference. These patients often become friends and supporters for life.
My office, Advanced Oral Diagnosis Treatment Center, is located in Danville. The phone is 925.837.8048. I have two websites; www.AODTC.com and www.drbrownwhy.com. The initial exam is complimentary.