Casey Hein & Associates

Dentistry 3.0

The era of medical-dental collaboration and integration has begun. This new era represents, finally, the reconnection of the mouth to the rest of the body. For decades now, we’ve seen overwhelming evidence of oral-systemic interrelationships – but we’re stuck trying to implement it. The greatest obstacle for dental providers is our failure to look beyond the tonsils.

Dentistry 3.0 represents a new model of care – dental professionals as non-physician primary care providers. This model of care is authoritatively defined by then American Association of Primary Care Providers as “providers of health care other than physicians who render some type of primary care services.”
(AAFP website. Available at: https://www.aafp.org/about/policies/all/primary-care.html; accessed May 1, 2018)

In recognizing there are many people who routinely visit the dental office but who do not see their physician on a regular basis, dental professionals are uniquely positioned to perform primary care services which have been traditionally delivered by physician and nurses. Aided by the technological advancement of point-of-care testing, oral health care providers can accurately screen people for non-communicable and infectious diseases, and other life-altering conditions, and perform health promotion and preventive intervention services. By moving to Dentistry 3.0, dental providers will fulfill the call-to-action for all healthcare providers to become engaged in prevention, early diagnosis and co-management of chronic diseases.

Dentistry 3.0 is not for everyone; however, early adopters will have more patients who are willing to invest in dental care, and no doubt early adopters will benefit from increased collaboration and referrals from the medical community.

If there was ever a time for boldly progressive dentists and dental hygienists, the time is now because we are finally entering the new era of medical-dental integration when we will share responsibility for our patients’ health. This new era will be powered by great clinicians who redefined their roles in the healing arts by embracing oral-systemic science and Dentistry 3.0.