Trend: Dentists doing primary care

In recent times, dentists have begun sliding into a primary care role. Not only are they handling oral health issues, they're also screening for diabetes, heart disease and cancer, and also are treating primary care-style ills such as headaches and snoring. Not only is this a responsible medical step, it's a step supported by current science, which has increasingly found that gum disease can increase the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease, foster premature births and more.

A growing number of physicians test blood sugar, cholesterol and potential inflammation before treating patients for gum disease. If the tests don't drop after the gum disease is treated, then the dentist refers the patient to a traditional PCP. One down side to this testing before and after gum disease treatment costs about $150 and usually isn't covered by dental insurance. However, these tests could help screen for more than 20 conditions which are common, serious and expensive to treat.

To learn more about dental screenings:
- read this piece from the Chicago Sun-Times

Related Article:
Gum disease more dangerous than it appears. Report