Dentistry has indeed been at the forefront in the fight against pain. In the current age virtually all dental procedures may be sucessfully completed in the absence of any patient discomfort through the administration of local anesthetics and or other techniques. However, the dental patient, our consumer, may not be aware of this, or they may consider that the injection of a local anesthetic is the most traumatic part of the entire procedure. How then are we to manage these patients?
As dentistry developed, dentists gained the reputation of being tooth “doctors.” Dental education was for many years pedicated on the fact that the dentist was responsible for the oral cavity of the patient, and dental school cirricula illustrated this. Early dentists were trained to manage their patients’ dental requirements only. the possible interaction between dental treatment and the overall health of the patiet was either unknown or ignored.
As medicine became more sophisticated, it became very apparent that dental care could and indeed does have a significant impact on the overall health of patients. Dental schools amended their curicula, adding courses in medicine and physical evaluation. The dentist bcame even more alert to the fact that treatment in the oral cavity could profoundly influence a patient’s well being and conversely that the patient’s health could significantly affect the type of dental treatment offered. The use of the patient-completed medical history questionaire became a standard in the 1950’s. The direction today, in the 2000’s is toward a more in-depth understanding of the relationships between oral and systemic health and disease, ie periodontal disease, heart attack, diabetes, stroke.
Paul L. Caputo, DDS3490 E Lake Rd S Suite A