I am so thankful that I was able to get vaccinated – an advantage to being 75. Jamie, as a teacher, was able to get her vaccination as well.
We were fortunate that Spectrum Health, and our Jerome Town Council, staff and volunteers, conducted a day of free vaccinations for all in attendance and provided over 300 shots to locals. However, living in Arizona has presented challenges to maintaining mitigation, with our Governor eliminating the mask requirement and opening bars and restaurants – many of whom do not require social distancing – so no surprise that Covid cases are starting to rise again.
I continue to stay busy providing webinars promoting the necessity of good oral health to maintain good overall health. Recently, I had the privilege of being on a panel looking at how to create a “no caries” future for Dr. Jaime Edelson in Mexico City with some extraordinary dental leaders.
The growing emergence of DSOs, Dental Therapists and the increasing role of Dental Hygienists have all contributed to an increased awareness that periodontal disease is associated with many systemic health issues including both kidney and pancreas illness.
The continuing development of innovative technologies from teledentistry/telehealth, lasers, 3D printing to name a few adds to the opportunity to engage more people/patients into quality affordable oral health care. This includes, seniors, those living in rural communities and those with special needs.
Please explore these opportunities and work with health leaders, insurance companies and policy makers to bring our valuable and needed services to those in need.
Stay well and committed to being a positive force for overall health, equity and promoting accessible and affordable health care for all.
In order for dental practices to succeed during the pandemic and have patients return, dental offices need to be sensitive to their fears. This can be done by following the CDC/ADA recommended safety procedures including interviewing patients on the phone prior to setting up their appointment, scheduling them when no other patients are there, or just one or two at a time, separating them in the waiting area. Common practices should include taking temperature when patients arrive, making sure operatories are sanitized between patients and so forth.
This “new” commitment to safety, and the increased awareness of oral health being a determinant of overall health, provides an opportunity for all oral health providers to be a positive force in improving the health of dental patients. For example, now dental practitioners have the opportunity and the responsibility to educate their diabetic patients on sound nutrition and A1C testing. Please check with the insurers to see if they are willing to add this as reimbursable procedures. It is possible to move in that direction to succeed now and into the future.
While still at home, Dr. Jack has been working with a few innovative groups, creating webinars, publications and advice for oral health providers and dental industry companies. It is becoming more common for this activity from our professional organizations and dental schools due to COVID-19, and will continue to be the norm over the next few months, as dental offices continue to open and make changes to comply with the new safety requirements.
Dr. Jack continues to contribute and urges all healthcare professionals to reassess their practices, especially when it comes to improving the overall health and safety of dental patients and staff.
"The cornerstone of leadership and professionalism is integrity and trust." Dr. Jack Dillenberg