Handle With Care
When it comes to dental patients, there is no “one-size-fits-all.” Patients come in a wide range of ages, have dissimilar health conditions, and present in various, often unique, stages of their lives. Each patient’s circumstances are different. Our responsibility as dentists is to treat each one with care and sensitivity, and with his or her best interest in mind.
This is what makes this issue of Compendium so compelling. Our continuing education (CE) articles focus on treatment of patients who are dealing with critical health issues. As you’ll see, dentistry is not always solely concentrated on dental procedures but sometimes includes assessing patients as part of their overall healthcare.
The first CE, for example, discusses Sjögren’s syndrome (SS), an autoimmune disease that affects the salivary glands and can result in xerostomia and other oral maladies. In reviewing the case of a 23-year-old woman, the article states how astute clinicians can play an important role in recognizing early manifestations of SS and ultimately help alleviate or manage troublesome symptoms.
Our second CE, provided by our partners at the Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity, examines palliative care dentistry. Dentists might find themselves in the sensitive position of managing patients with progressive, far-advanced disease, such as terminal cancer. In many of these patients the oral cavity has been compromised, and often the focus of care is simply on the immediate quality of life. The article outlines oral problems associated with palliative care patients and treatment options.
In this issue’s Kois Center Case, the author tells how she adeptly handled the case of a transgender patient who needed a full-mouth reconstruction. The article discusses the importance of upfront candid communication with patients about their desires and concerns, and the need for taking into account any hormone therapy the patient may be undergoing.
No two patients are quite alike, but all of them must be handled with care. Please enjoy this issue of Compendium, and be sure to visit us at compendiumlive.com for additional resources on patient management.
Louis F. Rose, DDS, MD