The October 2014 issue of Dimensions of Dental Hygiene features an article written by University of Michigan Dental Hygiene faculty members, Danielle Furgeson and Anne Gwozdek, and second year dental student, Anna Caplis, titled Personalize Your Patient Care. The article provides insight on how classifying and treating patients based on risk and genetic biomarkers can improve health outcomes. A significant focus of this piece is the study published in the Journal of Dental Research by Giannobile et al. (2013), Patient Stratification for Preventive Care in Dentistry, that looked at dental claims from 5,117 participants (aged 34-55) over a 16 year period. The results identified that there is not a “one-size-fits-all” model for preventive care and that those at high risk for periodontal disease may need to be seen for more frequent preventive care and those at low risk may not need the traditional two visits annually.
The Dimension’s article encourages oral health care professionals to apply a personalized approach to their patient care, understanding that salivary diagnostics can be useful in determining periodontal disease pathogen and host-response biomarkers. This, in addition to conducting a risk assessment as part of a comprehensive oral examination, can empower oral health care providers and patients to collaboratively set customized preventive care intervals.