Case Study 2 – Joe: A Life Saved in a Dental Office
Joe: A Life Saved in a Dental Office
Joe, a 47-year-old divorced man with three children, was referred to us by a patient of mine who really understands the oral-systemic connection. Joe and this patient work together, and the subject of oral care came up at lunch. Joe mentioned that his last dental visit was 12 years ago; my patient told Joe that he was too good of a friend to let him ignore his oral health and that he should make visiting a dentist office a priority. Luckily, Joe listened.
During our checkup, we found that Joe had substantial oral inflammation, that his gums bled when we probed them, and that his teeth had generalized pocketing of 4-6 millimeters—not good. Joe was found to be IL-1 negative but had elevated levels of P. gingivalis and T. forsythia on his MyPerioPath® test, which showed that he was at risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
With this in mind, we requested that his physician do a blood panel, including a test for LP-PLA2. We also requested a two-hour glucose tolerance test. We were not surprised to find that his LP-PLA2 was elevated, and that Joe was insulin resistant. To add to Joe’s problems, he also told us about his diet, which was very poor.
Joe had clearly not been taking care of himself. Once we explained his elevated risk factors due to genetics, poor oral hygiene, and poor overall health, he understood that he was risking not seeing his children grow up if he didn’t start paying more attention to his health.
We put together a custom treatment plan just for Joe which included:
- Laser pre-conditioning, which reduced his bacterial load throughout the mouth
- Full mouth scaling—removing tartar and plaque
- Root planing—removing the toxic surface irritants of the roots of teeth
- Localized anti-microbials, which eliminated biofilm and resolved infection
We also created a long-term maintenance plan with Joe.
Upon retesting his MyPerioPath®, Joe’s levels in areas that might show an increased risk of heart disease are all below threshold. Joe is now religious about his home care and visits to our office. His physician is amazed at his blood work and improved overall health. I’m happy to report we are now a constant referral stream from Joe’s physician’s group.
Before our visits, Joe did not think he needed to take care of himself. How things have changed! I’m proud to know that oral health is now a common discussion at Joe’s weekly poker game.
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