Continuing education focues on periodontal disease, overall health

Course offered through Columbia University College of Dental Medicine follows launch of dental/medical integration program.

HARTFORD, Connecticut--Aetna has announced that it is offering a continuing education course to participating dentists on the relationship between periodontal disease and members with chronic conditions, including pregnant women and individuals with diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

The course, titled "Systemic Conditions and Periodontal Disease," offers dental practitioners three continuing education credits free of charge.

"Research showing that there is a correlation between chronic diseases and periodontal disease continues to mount, elevating the role of the dental profession in the management of overall health," said Dr. Mary Lee Conicella, Aetna's National Director of Clinical Operations.

Aetna is offering the course following the implementation of its Dental/Medical Integration program that combines educational outreach about dental care with enhanced dental benefits to members who are pregnant or have diabetes, coronary artery disease or cerebrovascular disease.

A study conducted by Aetna and the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine found that high-risk individuals that sought earlier dental care lowered the risk or severity of their condition and subsequently, lowered their overall medical costs.

Through its relationship with Columbia, Aetna has introduced five continuing education courses that have focused on radiology, dental sealant application, fluoride, and the early diagnosis and treatment of tooth decay and provided to dentists' offices its work on tobacco cessation and dental/medical integration. Columbia also provides the content for Aetna's dental education website, Simple Steps to Better Dental Health.

Doctors participating in an Aetna Dental network can access the course by visiting Aetna's dental provider site, Aetna Dental, and clicking on "Continuing Education" (registration required).

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