Case Study 4 – Peggy: Dental Procedures Bring A Diabetic Miracle
Peggy: Dental Procedures Bring A Diabetic Miracle
Peggy is the reason I love being a dentist, despite the fact that she was skeptical of dentists, had avoided them most her life, and lived her life in fear and increasing debilitation as she let her health slip.
A severe diabetic, Peggy was practically a shut-in. She hadn’t seen a dentist in over a decade, and her diabetic condition had led to severe circulation problems. Her left leg was partially amputated and her right leg was at risk. When she came to see us, it was because she had broken a front tooth, not knowing there were a lot of other oral health problems that were affecting her life. Her son underestimated the severity of his mother’s poor oral condition and tended to put aside any thought of taking her to the dentist since he would need to take off work to bring her to our office.
Finally, her son realized that her dental condition was bad enough to warrant a visit. So he brought her in, and we did our best to put both at ease. We welcomed her without any recrimination for neglecting her teeth and oral health. We were happy to see her and made her feel at home.
During the examination, we saw that Peggy had all the signs of severe inflammatory disease. Blistered sores broke through her parched skin here and there, her hair was limp and unhealthy, and she herself was incoherent and non-communicative.
Our oral examination also showed a remarkable state of decay and inflammation. Because she was ashamed of her physical state, she had let herself neglect her treatment, and her son was fearful of disturbing her further. She was essentially deteriorating at home with little hope for recovery.
As we continued our examination of Peggy’s oral health, we did a simple rinse test for oral pathogens and genetic variations. First, our tests showed that she had a positive PST test for IL-1 and gave us tremendous insight into her condition as well as an assessment of her risk factors:
- She has the PST-positive genotype and is therefore at a 3-7 fold increased risk for severe periodontal disease—not to mention subsequent inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- She also had elevated high-risk pathogens above the Pathogen Load Threshold, verified with the MyPerioPath® test, a simple 30-second rinse test. She had elevated P. gingivalis, T. forsythia and A. actinomycetemcomitans. All of these have been shown to be associated with heart disease, strokes, and diabetes. They also have been shown to increase overall inflammatory disease.
We did our oral inflammation protocol for her, including laser pro-conditioning, anti-microbials, systemic antibiotics, an improved home care regimen, and the appropriate Perio Protect® protocols.
We saw and treated Peggy over a period of six weeks and did follow-up testing to verify her results. We started seeing improvement immediately! I am proud to say that her oral health has vastly improved. Her MyPerioPath® results are all below threshold, and she now has a very healthy mouth.
Perhaps most remarkably is the effect on her diabetic condition: It has improved drastically and her A1C (blood glucose) level has decreased.
Peggy looks so much better! The quality of her skin has visibly improved, and she has regained the personality of her youth that her illness had robbed her of. Not only does Peggy communicate more, she even jokes with everyone in our office. At her last visit, Peggy was ecstatic that her physician now allows her to enjoy a beer every time the Cardinals play—something that was completely out of the question before due to her high A1C levels.
She is now able to enjoy her family, especially her seven grandchildren. Her son, who also saw firsthand the incredible transformation in her health, never lets her miss a dental visit. She is at our office every 3 months for follow-up care. Peggy recently purchased quite a few copies of my book Refresh Life to give to other people so they can better understand the importance of oral health on overall health.
Her primary care physician is amazed at the improvements in Peggy’s health and is now an advocate for our practice. We have established a cross-referral network so we both can improve patients’ overall health and quality of life.
I also have all of Peggy’s family as patients now at my practice.
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