Almost a decade into my private dental practice, I had an epiphany. Despite running a highly ranked dental practice in San Diego, something felt amiss. My patients desired transparency and a personalized approach to their oral health. Although I strived to meet their expectations, I felt there was a crucial element missing—a tool that could truly customize dentistry and make it more human-centric.
Throughout my years as a dentist, I spent a significant amount of time fixing teeth with a drill. I witnessed mothers puzzled by why one child had more cavities than the other. Patients expressed their fears of tooth loss and their reluctance to end up in dentures like their grandparents. While I did my best to assist and offer recommendations, I still felt detached, lacking a profound understanding of what was truly best for each individual.
In 2017, I fell seriously ill and found myself searching for answers. Exhaustion, temperature regulation issues, and a racing heartbeat plagued me. Seeking a diagnosis, I underwent thorough laboratory testing, which ultimately revealed hyperthyroidism. This experience opened my eyes to the fact that clinical symptoms alone were insufficient for accurate diagnosis. The doctors relied on lab tests to gain insight into what was happening inside my body.
It was then that I realized dentistry was missing a similar objective tool—a window into patients’ oral health. While there were existing saliva testing options, they failed to integrate seamlessly into the workflow of a dental practice. I inquired with fellow dentists about their limited use of saliva testing, and they cited 3 primary reasons: the inconvenience of calling patients back, concerns about cost, and a lack of confidence in interpreting saliva biomarkers.
Motivated by these gaps, I embarked on developing Oral Genome—a point-of-care dental saliva test that delivers easily understandable results and recommendations. Oral Genome revolutionizes the dental practice workflow by collecting saliva in a vial, placing it on a test card, taking a photo akin to mobile check deposits, and providing results and recommendations in less than 10 minutes.
Simplifying Saliva Testing in a Dental Practice
The seamless integration of Oral Genome within a typical dental practice is remarkable. Patients can take the Oral Genome test during their visits, alongside routine procedures such as x-rays, intraoral photos, cleanings, and examinations. Dentists and hygienists then combine the Oral Genome test results with radiographic and clinical findings, resulting in accurate diagnoses and tailored treatment plans.
Oral Genome serves as the objective tool that reinforces diagnoses and treatment plans, much like blood testing in the medical field. It also empowers patients by decoding their oral health and offering personalized preventive measures. With easily accessible results, patients gain a deeper understanding of their oral health and can make informed decisions.
The integration of Oral Genome into your dental practice offers numerous advantages. Firstly, it serves as an affordable and efficient dental screener, providing valuable information for the majority of your patients. Moreover, Oral Genome simplifies the complexities of salivary biomarkers, making it accessible to both patients and dentists. Patients increasingly seek transparency in their oral health, while dentists strive for accurate diagnoses and prevention-focused practices. Oral Genome bridges these gaps, attracting patients and enabling dentists to become their true advocates in oral health.
In conclusion, the evolution of point-of-care salivary testing with Oral Genome has revolutionized dentistry, allowing for highly personalized care based on objective insights. By seamlessly integrating saliva testing into the dental workflow, dentists can enhance diagnoses, treatment plans, and preventive measures. Simultaneously, patients gain a profound understanding of their oral health, fostering engagement and satisfaction. Embracing innovative technologies like Oral Genome paves the way for a future where personalized care takes center stage, ultimately leading to improved patient outcomes and elevated standards in dentistry.
Integrating Salivary Testing Into Your Dental Practice
Integrating Oral Genome into a dental practice workflow is designed to be seamless and efficient. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how Oral Genome fits into the typical dental practice workflow.
- Patient check-in: When the patient arrives at the dental practice for his or her new patient or routine checkup appointment, the front office staff explains the benefits of salivary testing and obtains the patient’s consent.
- Dental examination: The patient undergoes the standard dental procedures such as x-rays and intraoral photos. During this time, the dental office collects a saliva sample from the patient and dispenses it onto Oral Genome’s test card.
- Saliva test processing: While the dental cleaning is being performed, Oral Genome’s test card processes and analyzes the saliva sample. This typically takes approximately 10 minutes.
- Dental cleaning: The patient receives a routine dental cleaning during the saliva test processing time.
- Dentist examination: Once the saliva test processing is complete, the dentist comes in for the examination and integrates the results obtained from Oral Genome into the overall assessment of the patient’s oral health.
Oral Genome provides several benefits to both the dental practice and the patient, including:
- Personalized health recommendations. The test results from Oral Genome can provide personalized recommendations for the patient’s oral health based on his or her specific profile.
- Identification of underlying and emerging issues. Oral Genome’s test can help identify potential oral health issues that may have already emerged or could potentially arise in the future, allowing for early intervention and preventive measures.
- Discussion of oral-systemic conditions. The results obtained from Oral Genome can aid in discussions between the dentist and the patient regarding any oral-systemic conditions that may be present or predispositions to certain health conditions.
- Emailing reports to patients. Oral Genome’s test results can be conveniently emailed to the patient, allowing the patient to access and review his or her oral health information easily.
- Easy-to-understand and trackable results. The results provided by Oral Genome are designed to be easily understandable for patients, facilitating their engagement in their own health and wellness. The results can also be tracked over time to monitor any changes or improvements.
- Support in treatment planning. Oral Genome’s results can help reaffirm diagnoses and assist in closing treatment plans by providing additional insights into the patient’s oral health status.
Overall, integrating Oral Genome into the dental practice workflow can enhance the level of care provided to patients by offering personalized recommendations, early detection of issues, and improved communication between the dentist and the patient.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Saw is a general dentist and the founder and CEO of Oral Genome. Prior to her current role, Dr. Saw established herself as a private practice owner at Elevated Smiles, a dental clinic located in Carlsbad, Calif. Beyond her professional achievements, Dr. Saw is also dedicated to making a positive impact on underserved communities. She founded the Harmony Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a 501(c)(3) status. Through this foundation, Dr. Saw strives to advance health equity and enhance healthcare access for those in need. She can be reached at via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclosure: Dr. Saw reports no disclosures.