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dentists and ENTs need to collaborate

Why dentists and ENT doctors should collaborate more

Oct. 19, 2023
Sinus conditions are often misdiagnosed by dentists and ear, nose, and throat specialists. Enhanced collaboration would help thousands of patients.

To prevent the serious complications from the correlation between dental infections and sinus disease, cooperation between dentists and otolaryngologists is essential. It’s common for these conditions to be misdiagnosed by dentists and ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists, which can lead to serious health risks. Maintaining the supply of state-of-the-art dental equipment is vital for avoiding these risks.

Odontogenic sinusitis (ODS) is a common condition caused by a dental infection that can result from poor oral hygiene or dental surgery, yet it’s prone to misdiagnosis.1 A collaborative approach between otolaryngologists and dental surgeons may be required to effectively evaluate, manage, and treat patients. Creating a synergy between dentistry and otolaryngology via products plays an important role in addressing this issue.

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The importance of good oral health

Educating the public about the link between oral health and overall health is an ongoing concern. Oral health provides a window into a person’s overall health. Poor oral health can contribute to multiple conditions, including cardiovascular diseases. Additionally, certain conditions such as diabetes or HIV can negatively impact oral health.2 Addressing problems in the mouth in a timely manner is essential for a person’s overall well-being.

What makes ODS important in terms of oral health? ODS accounts for roughly 10% of sinus infections, making it a common issue. For decades it’s been acknowledged that dental infections and sinus disease may be responsible for more than 40% of maxillary sinusitis cases.3 Despite the fact that 29% to 40% of chronic sinusitis has a dental pathology, and 10% to 64% are caused by dentoalveolar surgery, ODS is routinely misdiagnosed among dentists and ENT doctors.4 ODS is uniquely suited to diagnosis and treatment from both dental and ENT specialists. Successfully diagnosing and treating ODS requires a coordinated effort between otolaryngologists and dental providers.

If left untreated, ODS can lead to serious health risks, such as vision loss, eye infection, or pneumonia.5 Chronic sinusitis can be life-threatening if the infection spreads to the bones, spinal fluid, or brain, which can lead to meningitis and brain abscesses.6

Confirmation of ODS requires a diagnosis of infectious sinusitis by an otolaryngologist and corroboration of adjacent maxillary dental pathology by a dental specialist. When both the dental pathology and sinusitis are addressed, resolution can be expected in 90% to 100% of cases.7

The role of state-of-the-art dental equipment

General practitioners provide referrals to specialists in all areas of oral care that overlap with medical care. Exploring more products that can better serve these medical industry relationships is key. By refining and specializing products to cater to orthodontists, oral surgeons, pediatric dentists, endodontists, and ENT specialists, the many changes providers have seen in recent years for total oral, jaw, ear, nose, and throat health services can be addressed.

From exam chairs, microscopes, and treatment cabinets to dental exam, treatment, and oral surgery chairs, solid equipment aids professionals and their practices in terms of providing state-of-the-art patient care. Innovative means of providing care offers patients appointments that are quick and pleasant, as well as warding off other health problems.

The need for dental care is greater than ever. During the pandemic, the number of people visiting the dentist dramatically decreased, resulting in the need for more invasive dental procedures once the lockdowns eased. One study found that utilization of dental care in 2020 decreased by 80.9% compared to 2019.8 Not only does this matter in terms of a person’s health, it’s also a financial issue. Integrating medical and dental care, such as oral health and chronic disease prevention programs, saves money and provides well-being benefits to patients.9

Thanks to this need for care, many dental practices anticipate growth, despite the questionable state of the economy.10 But supply chain issues persist, and questions remain about the economy that have the potential to disrupt the production and distribution of products across industries, including medical and dental supplies. This is resulting in an increase of dental supply spending for many practices, from an average of 5.5% to 6.0% of their revenue prior to the pandemic, to 8.0% to 9.0% more recently.11 Cutting-edge dental equipment offers superior durability and proven reliability to aid professionals and their practices with the personalized products they need to focus on providing state-of-the-art patient care.

This article originally appeared in DE Weekend, the newsletter that willelevate your Sunday mornings with practical and innovative practice management and clinical content from experts across the field.Subscribe here.

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