04 April 2011

Primary Care to Enter the Dentist's Office?

Can you get past the fear of the dental office to accept dentists doing some primary care? I am not sure I could even though I have no fears of the dental office. I think I would be forced to look elsewhere for my dental work if primary care came to the dental office where I get my dental work done.

I know that the primary care physicians may be in short supply in the near future, but I am having serious problems with the ones trying to fill this vacuum. First the pharmacies, see my blog here, and now the dentists. I guess my initial reaction is one of lets not change the current system.

With what is happening, this may be wishful thinking, but I will do my best to avoid these situations. The doctor interviewed for this article, is very convincing and well-intentioned. He raises some excellent points and knows this will not happen overnight. He is determined that this should be the course of action for dental students of the future. Figuring that this will take three to five years for this to start, another five years for the first ones to graduate, we are eight to ten years before this begins to happen.

Then for other dental schools to actively turn out graduates, would require at least that long and you know that many students will not chose this area so even with all dental schools putting graduates in to the profession some areas will start to have this in ten to 15 years and probably a full 20 to 25 years before this becomes a complete reality.

The one area that could definitely be an advantage for the dental profession is aiding in the detection of diabetes. The doctor did not say diagnosis, but did emphasize screening and referring the patient to their doctor or referring them a doctor knowledgeable about diabetes. Since many primary care doctors have abdicated their responsibility in the area of screening and diagnosis, this is one positive I could see since often there can be signs that the dentist might see earlier like periodontal disease which has a link to diabetes.

So it will be up to the patient whether they will to accept some primary care from the dental profession. How fast this could become a reality remains to be seen, but if limited in nature, there may be a place for some types of primary care.

Read the interview here.

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