Leading Dentists

Chronic Illness, Functional Medicine and the Dental Hygienist

Course Info

  • CPD Points:
    ADA CERP ( 1.75 points)
    Dental Board of Australia ( 2.00 points)
  • Speaker: Ms. Kris Johnson
  • Location: Study Clubs
  • Date: Dec 6th at 7:00 PM*
    * This date / time will vary depending on your local Study Club.

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Functional Medicine is individualized health care, considering all body systems to discover root causes of disease. With the expansion of inter-professional healthcare, dental hygienists are in a unique position to provide additional information to their patients as part of the “puzzle” that can help guide them to optimal health. Dental hygienists typically see their patients every 3, 4, or 6 months. Not many healthcare practitioners have that frequency of direct patient care. Most healthcare professionals don’t get to spend forty to fifty minutes with each patient per visit, and no other healthcare professional has the access, education, and critical eye on oral tissues as the dental hygienist. In fact, other healthcare providers know little about the “roadmap” of oral tissues.

Chronic disease is on the rise. In dentistry, we treat patients with a gamut of health issues, but generally we see diabetes, heart disease, thyroid disorders, cancer, depression, etc. Functional Medicine is systems based, which means instead of treating symptoms (slapping a bandage on acute systemic issues), it delves deeper into the body’s systems to find out specifically what is causing dis-ease. How chronic disease relates to dentistry is seen via: xerostomia (from medications/ Sjogrens, etc), periodontal disease (often exacerbated by diabetes or other systemic disease), increased caries (xerostomia/type of bacteria present), aphthous ulcers, lichen planus, etc. (possibly related to systemic disease), oral cancer (related to innumerable causal factors). Polypharmacy is not uncommon. There is a lot to be said for drug-free health…fewer side effects, better sleep, more energy, clarity of mind, and increased overall life quality can be achieved for many.

Learning Objectives:

1. Understand the basics of what functional medicine is.

2. Recognize patients that may benefit from this type of care.

3. Develop new ways of discussing chronic health issues with your patients. 

Ms. Kris Johnson

Ms. Kris Johnson

Kris Johnson, RDHAP, BA, MSc graduated with an associates degree in dental hygiene from Shoreline Community College in Washington State, a bachelor of business management from St Mary’s College of California, and is currently writing her masters thesis at Idaho ...

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