When fearful patients who have avoided the dentist for years come to the dental office reporting pain, the dental team often has to sooth patient anxieties before treatment can begin. Wendy McCreight, DDS, and Jamie Rotunno, RDH, of Steamboat, Colo, are the most recent recipients of the Orkos Award for their careful attention to a patient’s anxieties and oral health.
Founded by Perio Protect, the Orkos Award encourages and recognizes the contributions of individual dental professionals in the fight against gum disease. To receive the award, doctors and hygienists submit documentation demonstrating significantly improved clinical outcomes for a patient after treatment.
The patient in the award-winning case study visited McCreight Progressive Dentistry because eating and brushing his teeth both hurt. He assumed he had a cavity, but McCreight diagnosed periodontal disease. Also, Rotunno explained his periodontal charting and ideal treatment steps, beginning with bacterial testing and prescription tray delivery of medication to fight the infection and reduce inflammation before scaling for more comfortable treatment.
The patient exhibited generalized periodontal disease with moderate to heavy bleeding, calculus, and pockets measuring up to 7 mm. The bone surrounding his teeth had begun to break down, and bacterial testing indicated high levels of pathogens.
The treatment began with two weeks of using the Perio Protect Perio Tray to reduce bacterial loads and inflammation, followed by four deep cleanings performed in the office. The prescription tray homecare continued twice a day for 15 minutes between hygiene visits.
Six weeks after the cleanings were completed, the patient returned to the office. Bleeding had decreased from 90 sites to six sites. Deep pockets dropped from 84 sites to eight. The remaining measurements were within normal limits. Healthy stippled tissue was observed, and pathogen testing indicated a reduction in bacterial loads in every category tested. Three months later at a maintenance visit, the healthy results had been maintained.
“At McCreight Progressive Dentistry, we take gum disease very seriously. The bacteria causing infection can contribute to inflammation and compromise patient health. We take a lot of time to get the cleanings done well, and we focus on home care. We recommend Perio Trays for use at home because this deep delivery of medication below the gums fights infection and inflammation, makes the cleanings easier, and maintains healthy results longer. Results are better when patients use the trays,” said Rotunno.
“But this case is about more than good results. It’s great to do an excellent job removing calculus and biofilm, but it’s the patient experience that really counts in the end, how we make them feel when they have left the office,” Rotunno said. “Without the Perio Trays, the patient would have had a much more involved hygiene procedure and not have had as good of an experience. When you can address patient anxieties, everything is easier, including ongoing maintenance care for gum disease.”
The patient told Rotunno that how much better his mouth feels has kept him motivated to maintain his health at home after the initial treatment. He also added that, as a business owner, he appreciated the convenience of the Perio Protect trays, which are designed to deliver medication deep below the gums where toothbrushing, rinses, and floss can’t reach.
“It’s an easy way for patients to keep the gums healthy,” said McCreight. “Patients also like the fresh breath and white teeth that are the best side effects of any dental treatment. It’s like getting three treatments in one.”
The work at McCreight Progressive Dentistry demonstrates excellence in patient care and genuine concern for patient comfort and experience that will encourage patients to continue their own care at home, Perio Protect said. The combination of in-office and at-home attention sets the office apart and yields superior results for patients as in this case, the company added.
“This case is exciting because it can be hard to convince fearful, anxious patients to acknowledge that they have gum disease and to accept treatment for it,” said Perio Protect managing director Tanya Dunlap. “The Perio Protect method of treating gum disease with adjunctive Perio Tray therapy was created exactly for this kind of patient, and we congratulate the team at McCreight Progressive Dentistry.”
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