2022 SALIVA ANALYSIS: THE NEW PATIENT ENGAGEMENT TOOL
SALIVA ANALYSIS: THE NEW PATIENT ENGAGEMENT TOOL
Empowering patients to engage in their oral healthcare can be a constant challenge for dental professionals. Some patients are fearful of procedures, some want you to make all the decisions, and some just want to get in and out, and not come back. Or, if insurance doesn’t cover it, they are not interested to learn how it may help them.
Saliva analysis screening technology can provide information you did not have previously and can amp up your conversation to deliver oral health and hygiene education with visual, objective measurements. It may just keep your patients coming back for more.
WHAT DOES CHAIRSIDE SALIVA SCREENING LOOK LIKE TODAY?
A few tests available can identify specific pathogens that cause disease, are considered diagnostic and are more expensive to administer as you have to send the sample out to a lab for analysis.[i] Saliva screening tools differ in that they are quick and easy to use and typically cost much less to implement. One saliva analysis system uses dual wavelength reflectance spectrometry to measure key saliva biomarkers through a chemical reaction on the test pad which eliminates culturing of bacteria for days to get numbers or sending samples off to a lab. Other saliva tests measure the pH of saliva to determine if the oral cavity is acidic,[ii] or salivary flow to determine hyposalivation.[iii] Saliva screening test results are tools that can be used to complement a clinical assessment of your patient to provide more information to support suggesting new oral hygiene habits, products, or treatments.
The most comprehensive chairside saliva screening measures the presence of biomarkers in areas that can be used to assess risk of caries and gum disease, providing results for levels of cariogenic bacteria, acidity, buffer capacity, blood, leukocyte, protein, and ammonia. These results can indicate a higher or lower risk for developing caries and gum disease which can support the discussion with your patients on what their oral health looks like today and where you are encouraging them to take it.[iv]
CAN A SALIVA SCREENING SERVICE BE BENEFICIAL FOR MY PRACTICE?
Dr. Brian Nový, noted saliva lecturer, CAMBRA President, and Chief Dental Officer for the State of Massachusetts, added chairside saliva screening to his practice a few years ago and finds it beneficial for both the team and patients.
TEAM BENEFITS saliva screening
- Quick, easy procedure doesn’t interrupt current hygienist’s routine and supports clinical presentation of case
- Customizable report fields to create a unique, patient-centered report card that clearly explains the issue and staff recommendations
- Tracks progress over time so that everyone can see what is working and how health is improving
PATIENT BENEFITS saliva screening
- Objective, visual evidence to help patients understand what the clinician is telling them about disease risk
- A customized report card individualized for a patient that clearly explains the issue and the recommendations specifically for them and not just general advice
- Develops trust in their provider that what they are recommending has some basis
- Tracking patient results over time motivates them to continue behavioral changes to see improved oral health outcomes
Another office is using saliva analysis for a different audience and finds similar benefits. Dr. Boyd Simkins, a pediatric dentist in Utah, states that saliva analysis has changed the conversation with parents of his pediatric patients. He feels he is no longer saying the same things over and over to glazed-eyed parents about brushing and flossing, and no more sugar. Now, he discusses choices to make to improve outcomes and progress as the numbers are changing. Discussions are more meaningful with a saliva screening analysis to show how their child is responding to treatment. Dr. Simkins believes it is a valuable addition to his dentistry and has changed how he practices dentistry.
A saliva screening tool can change and add impact to your preventive care routines. Empowering your staff with this simple method to have deeper and more meaningful conversations to engage patients, who want a say in their treatment, can be the boost a practice needs to make a great comeback after a year of uncertainties and with smarter patients.
(SillHa Oral Wellness System with mySalivaP® software provides your staff a quick and easy method to add saliva analysis to your preventive care initiatives. The instrument is compact to fit in your operatory or lab. The mySaliva software provides an intuitive interface that delivers results in 5 minutes, presenting results in a visual range of 0 to 100, categorized as low, moderate or high risk, and offers customizable fields to individualize comments for each patient to show potential causes and recommendations. The ARKRAY USA SillHa team works with your staff to implement SillHa into your practice to make it flow smoothly from start to finish discussing all aspects with each of your staff to ensure their needs and concerns are addressed. Visit sillhasaliva.com.)
[i] OralDNA® testing by Oral DNA Labs.
[ii] Saliva-Check Buffer by GC America
[iii] BokaFlo™ by BOKA Sciences, Inc.
[iv] SillHa Oral Wellness System by ARKRAY USA.
Learn more at Collaboration Cures 2022 with AAOSH. Providing optimal care to achieve optimal results requires identifying all existing factors in your patients. This is possible with a collaborative approach among healthcare practitioners from multiple disciplines. AAOSH and AAPDM, two leading healthcare organizations providing education and training to healthcare fields, have joined forces to offer a groundbreaking, research and education based conference on collaborative care for optimal patient health.