As the LANAP Clinician family continues to grow, our doctors play an important role in advancing the field of periodontics with forward thinking that puts the patient first. Each month, we will highlight a clinician to get their perspective on the state of periodontics, LANAP cases, and more.
This month, Upstate New York LANAP Clinician Ann Marie Adornato, DMD, MSD weighs in on challenges in the field, the role of technology in periodontics and the future of the field.
What do you find to be the most challenging part of being a periodontist today?
The most challenging part of being a periodontist is patient education and educating the General Dentists. My goal is to have the general dentist refer to me before the periodontal disease gets to be severe and also educate them on the other factors to look out for like gingival recession, peri-implantitis, mucogingival defects, and restorative concerns that may need crown lengthening.
Educating the patients is very difficult because most people have the mentality that it doesn’t hurt and they can’t see the problem. They may go to their dentist with a broken tooth or broken filling and because they can see it and it hurts them, so they are more willing to accept treatment.
The LANAP procedure has enabled me to calm patients’ fears about the dreaded deep cleaning and gum surgery that they have heard about from friends and family.
What are your patients’ most frequent reasons for refusing treatment?
The main reason people refuse treatment is fear, not finances. The fear comes first and finances are an excuse to get out of the treatment.
How important is integrating new technology/treatment methods into your practice?
I think evolution is key to having a successful specialty practice. I am always looking for new procedures and technology that I can be passionate about and provide to my patients. Especially in this new world of technology and social media, it’s a great way to be able to market your practice to patients of all ages.
Where do you see the field of periodontics going in five years?
In five years, I see periodontists treating peri-implantitis on a daily basis, with the amount of implants that are being placed not only by specialists but by general dentists. I think the LANAP protocol will gain even more popularity and become the standard of care for patients needing osseous surgery.
Patients are going to come to expect dental offices to have the latest technology, have social media pages, and be able to contact the dental offices by email and text. Patients and people in general these days want to limit the amount of face to face time they have with each other. Also, people are so busy they don’t want to pick up the phone and call for appointments they will expect online appointment scheduling.
What do you think needs to happen for patients to take their oral health (and, consequently overall health) more seriously?
I think education is key, and for that matter, educating the general public is an important aspect. We have more access to the general population than ever before through social media and the internet. It is our job as practitioners to educate our patients and society about the periodontal and systemic connections.
My patients go through a 30 minute educational appointment where we review oral hygiene and educate them on the reason why treatment is the best option for them and what happens if they do not go through treatment. By showing them that we value the treatment, we instill the patients with [the confidence to] move forward with treatment. It is also important for the referring general dentists to instill the same value to their patients. When the periodontist and general dentist work together symbiotically, there is more patient acceptance of treatment and they take it much more seriously.
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