Kris Potts

Innovator Series

Join us with Kris Potts!

She is an enjoyable speaker, rich in expertise, with over four decades in dentistry.

Video transcription:

 Liz Lundry, RDH - "Hi, everybody. Thank you for joining us today on the StellaLife Innovators series. I'm Liz Lundry and today we're going to be hearing from Kris Potts, a hygienist speaker, author, and educator with over 35 years experience in dentistry. She has made it her mission to positively impact the oral health and impdrove the quality of life for oncology patients by focusing on the concept of pre-habilitation. Her goal is to educate consumers and health care providers in prevention treatment, and alternatives for patients. She's an amazing resource and a wealth of information. We at StellaLife share Kris' mission to improve people's lives, and we're delighted today to present Kris Potts."

Kris Potts, RDH - "Hi, I'm Chris Potts, owner of Oral Health Promotion Strategies. I founded my company originally to assist others in taking ownership of their oral health and not just accepting that that's just the way things were. "It runs in the family", "I just have weak teeth" or "my gums always bleed", were inaccurate and unacceptable excuses. They may have been acceptable at one point in time, but as science and technology progressed and as our understanding of the underlying causes of poor oral health increased, many new techniques or strategies and products were developed and it didn't have to be that way anymore. I lost my best friend to metastatic breast cancer in 2005. I lost an uncle to esophageal cancer, a brother in law to oral cancer, my mother to pancreatic cancer, and am myself a breast cancer survivor. And I don't tell you this to elicit sympathy, but I feel that these events led to my calling to bring this information to my colleagues in the hope that it can spare others some of the devastating oral effects that can come with a cancer diagnosis. I watched them suffer with the oral side effects of their treatments and all the while wishing that there was more that I could do to ease their pain. I was an oral care specialist, for goodness sakes. I've been in dentistry over 40 years, most of them as a clinical dental hygienist. I saw numerous patients come into the practices who were suffering just as my friend and family members had. Pre-habilitation concepts will help you to keep your patient's mouths healthier during the times when their immune system is compromised. It's the comprehensive anticipatory care for oral issues surrounding cancer before the debilitating side effects of the disease or the treatment develop. It also includes establishing an inner collaborative relationship with their oncology team that coordination of care results in improved outcomes, a better care experience, and a reduction in health costs. We in dentistry are in a unique position to make a difference. I was also convinced that a lot of the oral side effects of treatment could be prevented. I studied and I researched and I found some of the newer innovations out there that proved to be really helpful. I also enrolled and received a certification in oncology care from Southern Indiana University in 2016 and boy, that was an eye opener. It was obvious to me that while oncology providers are experts in their field, they knew very little about the mouth. On the other hand, our dental education did not prepare us for the unique challenges that an oncology patient faces with their oral health, and that became my mission to unite the two. As dental providers, we play an important role in meeting the exclusive and often challenging oral health care needs of patients who are impacted by cancer. There are skills that we already possess, and new ones that we can easily acquire that can make the difference in the lives of these patients before, during, and after treatment. The demand for dental professionals who are trained to meet the oral health care needs of both patients battling cancer and cancer survivors, is rising. Rehabilitation concepts are an opportunity to decrease treatment related morbidities, improve outcomes, decrease overall health care costs, and allows us the potential to increase survival. This is a great time to implement updated protocols into the practice. You'll be able to put into use right away some of the concepts that will assist your patients, their care champions and family members, and sometimes preventing and at the very least minimizing many of these issues by providing targeted interventions. It begins with creating value in that medical history review. There are a ton of new concerns out there that need to be addressed, and we need to address them to provide patients with the ultimate care experience in our offices. I believe patients will be more open to that now than they have been in the past. Pre-habilitation concepts involves identification of problem areas, documentation, developing a restorative, as well as a home care treatment plan, developing a plan to decrease the bacterial load, review their oral hygiene habits, the frequency of their re-care, removal of fixed orthodontic appliances in certain cases, and the recommendation of xylitol. All oncology treatments, whether it's chemotherapy, radiation, surgical, or immunotherapy, they all can affect blood glucose levels, they're going to feed the oral bacteria, they're going to build biofilm, cause dry mouth and alter the PH, and all of those will result in an increase in decay. You can offer point of care testing such as salivary diagnostics and bacterial testing. Patients have stated that their opinion of the dentist would improve regarding their professionalism, their knowledge, their competence and compassion if these types of tests were part of the dental visit. Knowing when to delay treatment, what exactly those lab values mean, treating mucositis, medically related osteonecrosis, adjustment in appointment times, chair positioning, referral to oral myofunctional therapists, nutritional counseling, and including xylitol, are all essential components of rehabilitation concepts. Knowing your products, what you are recommending and why, and what is the goal for that patient? The answers to all of these are critical to success. You can become a resource. Recommend a diverse assortment of products because there's not a one size that fits all. For oncology patients, their needs can and will change along with the progression of their treatment. So for the average person, the choice of products that's out there becomes overwhelming and that's where I like to help by providing information, encouraging a dialogue between the oncology team and the dental team and educating on ways that they can make the cancer journey a little less unpleasant, at least as far as the oral side effects go. With a few simple questions on what your goals for a particular product might be, I can help guide someone toward what might be best for them in their situation. This is not intended to be a substitute at all for any medical or dental advice, it's more of a guide so individuals can ask the right questions of their providers. There are great products that are out there that are all natural, they lower the bacterial load in the mouth, they promote the healing of oral tissue and reduce the need for opioid type medications. I encourage you to visit my website and that's Kris with a K and look under the resources tab, click on products and you'll find a pretty comprehensive list that I try to keep continually updated. There are also other articles and videos that you might find useful, not just for oncology patients but for those that suffer from dry mouth in general, whether it's due to age or medications. So if I can be of any assistance to you or if you would like more information, you can contact me through the website don't lose your smile to the cancer journey."

Liz Lundry, RDH - "Thank you so much, Kris. Countless oncology patients and their doctors have reported a reduction in the side effects of their therapies such as xerostomia and mucositis when they use StellaLife before and during their treatments. Please contact us so that together, we can help improve these people's lives. Thank you for joining us and come back to meet our next innovator."