Dental screenings could save lives

Oct. 22, 2008
Dentists now conducting early-detection tests for heart attacks and other serious diseases.

CHICAGO--A year's worth of studies show that more than one-fifth of the periodontal patients who received FDA approved blood tests in their dental offices were then diagnosed by their physicians with cancers, diabetes, pre-diabetes, high risk for heart attack or stroke, or another serious medical condition.

This indicates that dentists can save your life. People typically visit their dentists more often than they see their doctors. Dentists can play a crucial role in the early detection of serious diseases.

Dr. Ronald Schefdore, a Chicago dentist with more than 25 years of experience, is leading a movement to raise awareness that bleeding gums are the most common warning light for diagnosis of more than 20 different medical conditions including diabetes, heart disease, colon cancer, Hodgkins lymphoma, and a host of other problems.

Dr. Schefdore is a dentist who believes that millions of lives can be saved by inoffice testing using FDA-approved blood testing kits that test for C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation. Schefdore uses a simple process on patients he sees in his office.

"It's quick and easy and helps speed the diagnosis and proper steps towards treatment," he said.

Blood test kits come with a patient release form and instructions on how to do the test. The test takes just three drops of blood. The samples are mailed to a laboratory, and results are sent back to the dentist within 10 days.

"If patients, physicians, and dentists would work together it would be better health for Americans almost overnight," he said.

Dr. Schefdore is spreading the word about his procedure and training other dental offices on test implementation. Dr. Schefdore, who was featured in US News and World Report in February 2008, said he wants to make the blood screening part of standard dental care within the next five years.

"This could save a lot of lives," he said.

For more information on periodontology, go to American Academy of Periodontology.

To read more about this subject, go to periodontal disease.

To comment on this subject, go to PennWell Dental Community site.