Dr. Doug Thompson, DDS, FAAMM, ABAAHP, discusses the significance of inflammation, guiding patients and doctors to health and wellness, and increasing patient trust and practice growth.
Liz Lundry, RDH - Hi, everyone. I'm Liz Lundry, clinical education manager for StellaLife. Thanks for joining us today. We're going to be hearing from Dr. Doug Thompson, and Dr. Thompson began his dental career at age 18 as an inhouse laboratory technician. He graduated from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 1996 and completed his hospital based VA residency in 1997. His practice in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, is known as Integrative Oral Medicine. He's completed hundreds of hours of continuing education at the Kois Center in Seattle, Washington, and has been on the faculty since 2015, teaching about personalized periodontal medicine and wellness dentistry. Dr. Thompson has also completed a fellowship in antiaging and regenerative medicine through the American Academy of Antiaging, Regenerative and Functional Medicine. He's a published author, and in 2015 founded the Wellness Dentistry Network, a community of dentists with a keen awareness of how oral conditions affect whole body health. This year he founded Homedentalexam.com, an online service providing home salivary diagnostics with virtual consultations to assist people with oral health care through an online platform. He is a true innovator. Let's welcome Dr. Doug Thompson.
Dr. Doug Thompson - Hi. I'm Doug Thompson. I'm the owner and founder of Integrative Oral Medicine, a dental practice in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. I also have founded the Wellness Dentistry Network. In addition to the Wellness Dentistry Network and Integrative Oral Medicine, I've also founded another entity called homedentalexam.com and what I want to call and talk to you about today or what I want to share with you today is the concept of wellness dentistry and why? Why would we put all our effort into wellness dentistry? Well, I tell you, I learned some years ago when I was studying a little bit of functional medicine about the significance of inflammation and what happens to the body when we are under attack from infections from our mouth and from our bodies and how we can experience inflammation. And what did we learn? We learned inflammation was a killer. As a matter of fact, we learned that inflammation and inflammatory diseases of the blood vessels are now what they're calling cardiovascular disease. And the cardiovascular disease is actually an inflammatory disease again of the blood vessels. And there's other things that add to that. And I thought to myself, "I wonder, in practice, in our dental practice, what could I see in a patient that was sitting in my dental chair? What could I see that might tip me off, that they have other issues with health and wellness?" Well, one of the things that we started to really look at carefully was gum disease and we started to look at how gum disease could affect systemic inflammation. And in fact, we're up to 57 cross reference diseases now with gum disease. So it's a huge player. And I thought if I could help the patients with some other areas of their life in addition to stabilizing their gum disease, what a nice thing that would be for me, what a nice thing it would be for them. And what I found is that talking to patients about careful gum disease management, careful caries management, it was very rewarding and patients were very responsive. And here's a little bit of the backstory of how that started. It all started with me in 2006. I basically got one of these coupons in the mail, and you might have them in your community. It's a coupon in the mail that said I could get my teeth cleaned, I could have an exam by the doctor, I could have any of the bad bacteria removed from around the teeth that could affect my liver or my kidney or my heart. I would have those removed, and I could have some other services as well and the value of the coupon was over $250. And I was thinking to myself that cleanings in my office were really much less expensive than that. And I flipped the coupon over and I realized it was for my cat. So I got quite a chuckle out of that, but I also got a little bit angry. I thought, you know, the veterinarians are doing a better job at teaching their patients how to be healthy, much more than I was. So I started to have the exact same discussion with my patients. I started to see my patients with gum disease or with oral bacteria issues, and then I simply did this. I just simply said to them, I don't understand the entire relationship, but I know those bacteria around your teeth are not only affecting your gum health, your tooth health, but they're also affecting your systemic health. And patients started to get much more responsive. Then I started to learn about salivary diagnostics and how to measure the bacteria in the mouth. And I never really thought about it before. But there's only two infections in the mouth that are caused by biofilm or bacteria, yeast and viruses, and it's gum disease and cavities. So I started to really talk to patients much more about gum disease cavity management, which involved biofilm management, and we became very keen and we have very keen awareness about how oral conditions affect systemic health and it's really really been rewarding. As a matter of fact, it significantly enhance the revenue in the practice from increased hygiene services and ancillary services and health and wellness, and we've gone on to learn about blood sugar management, early heart disease detection, how to deal with yeast and molds, and as a matter of fact, it became the framework, if you will, of integrative oral medicine, which then became the learning environment for the creation of Wellness Dentistry Network, and what Wellness Dentistry Network is is basically a resource hub for dentists to have the materials, the patient education materials, the diagnostic tools, the treatment protocols and the maintenance protocols to guide a patient not only through health and wellness in the dental world, but how to guide a patient into health and wellness opportunities beyond the teeth. This would be more than just gum disease and cavity management, but it would include sleep apnea, it would include oral abnormality screening. And sure, we look at appearance, we do all the cosmetic services and all other services that traditionally is offered in dentists, but we typically take it a step further. We start to look at the integration between the patient's oral conditions and their systemic health, and often, it leads to much, much more. And what else happens is, patients have become very trusting of us, and so it builds incredible trust and loyalty and that creates not only increased revenue in the practice but increased stickiness to the practice. And wellness Dentistry, Integrative oral medicine Style dentistry, it becomes a brand and it becomes part of your reputation. It's not some dental codes. It's not maximizing some codes. It's building on a reputation and brand that people come to love and trust you for. So Wellness Dentistry Network is this resource hub, and it's an online learning center and the idea is it's supposed to supply you and it does supply you with what you need. Now, I don't have all the stuff figured out about wellness dentistry, and there's many avenues. As a matter of fact, 23 different modules in all in our Wellness Dentistry Network, but eight of them are tied specifically to dentistry. And we've seen many, many patients come in with a gum infection and decide to learn how to stop sugar and lose weight, or decide that they would get some cardiovascular biomarkers in collaboration with a physician and then they would start to manage their heart health better, or maybe we would send them home with a hypertensive record keeping system and they would keep track of their blood pressure for a week and they would start to get better hypertensive management. All these things are opportunities that the Wellness Dentistry Network and the integrative oral medicine style of practice can help you with. Now, what's another thing that we're faced with today? Today we're really faced with trying to figure out how to do more for our patients without having close contact. In other words, we have a relationship with our patients, but is there more we could do for them from their homes? And this is the genesis of Home Dental Exam. Home Dental Exam is something that I would like to have all of us be involved in where we can really provide unique information, health guidance, coaching, we have actually a virtual hygienist that the patients can subscribe to that can help them with their dental hygiene needs. A lot of really cool opportunities. So what I hope this few minutes does for you, it spurs your interest in an integrative oral medicine style of approach. How do you do that? Join the Wellness Dentistry Network. Learn there, start there. We'll network with you, we'll help build a consultancy, we'll provide content for you, we'll help provide some consultancy help, and you'll be part of our wellness community and it's really a rewarding thing to do. What else will it do? It will make more revenue in practice, it will increase your practice joy, and it'll create engaged teams. It's really a nice thing to do and there's never never been a better time to focus on health and wellness than now. All of our patients are looking for it, and they're expecting it from us. So what a great time. So I really want to thank Stellalife for giving me the platform to share this message. And I would hope that we could see you soon in our wellness community of dentists aligned to create healthier patients and to provide them with a couple of things, greater longevity, greater vitality. That's what they're all looking for. We hope to see you there.
Liz Lundry, RDH - Thank you, Dr. Thompson. I just wanted to share a helpful hint with all of you clinicians out there. With the current guidelines for reopening your offices, some states are recommending that hygienists only use hand instrumentation to reduce the aerosols. We appreciate that without the use of ultrasonics, we're not going to be as effective as to manage the biofilm. So we recommend doing subgingival irrigation at the end of every hygiene procedure with StellaLife Vega oral care rinse in an endo syringe. This will allow you to reduce the bacteria, to flush out any loose pieces of calculus, clotted blood or tissue tags, and it will leave your patients with a nice, refreshing taste when you're done with the procedure. So you could use it for your prophy patients, your periodontal maintenance patients, as well as any scaling and root planing patients. And many of our hygienists, including myself as a hygienist of over 40 years, have been providing subgingival irrigation for years and the patients really appreciate the benefits of StellaLife. And whether you're using ultrasonics or not, it will reduce bleeding and any post procedural discomfort for your patients. So I just wanted to share that with you. So thank you for joining us today, please come back next week. We're going to feature another amazing innovator and wish you all a very wonderful and safe week. Thank you so much.