- Introduce to the dental team the rationale and benefits of screening patients at risk for various life-altering diseases and conditions.
- Describe the various types of screening tools that could equip us to identify patients at risk for non-communicable and infectious diseases.
- Begin transformation to the non-physician primary model of care.
In his 1926 speech at the 7th International Dental Congress, Dr. Alfred Fones (who trained the first dental hygienist, Irene Newman), described a new auxiliary branch in dentistry that was dedicated to oral prophylaxis, “…practiced by laywomen, trained for this purpose [prophylaxis] and limited to this specialty”. In essence, the role of this auxiliary provider was to perform ‘mouth sanitation’. This model of care was predicated on the prevailing thought of this time – that the oral cavity was isolated from the rest of the body.
Almost 100 years after Fones introduced this ‘auxiliary branch’ it could be said that dental hygiene education and scope of practice still largely center on ‘mouth sanitation’, although scientific thought has changed considerably. Decades of sound evidence of how periodontal disease contributes to the overall burden of inflammation, at the systemic level and vice versa, compels us to confront the realization that it’s time for a new model of care – one that should no longer limit hygienists to caring for the oral cavity alone.
In this mega session, Casey will share emerging scientific concepts that challenge us to start from scratch to reimagine a new dental hygienist and provide a glimpse of how we can provide many primary care services, traditionally delivered by nurses and physicians, into everyday patient care – starting tomorrow. Do you want to practice at a higher level? Do you want something better for your patients? If your answered ‘yes’, please join us to help build ‘great expectations” for the profession of dental hygiene.
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