Medical Checkups in the Dental Chair

A recent article from suggests that more than just your teeth may be checked at your next dental appointment, and San Jose dentist Dr. Randy LaFrom agrees.

The Dentist’s Chair is a Good Place for a Medical Checkup

According to a new study, 20 million Americans see a dentist each year, but not a general health care provider. This suggests that dental professionals see patients much more often than general or specialized physicians, meaning that dentists will be the first health care provider to detect potential problems, whether in the oral cavity or elsewhere. Specifically for diseases such as diabetes and other big-problem, multi-faceted health conditions, dentists can identify them simply by asking their patients a few questions and administering a few quick health tests.

The Importance of Annual Office Visits

This study emphasizes the importance of regular dental and general health exams. The American Dental Association recommends seeing the dentist at least twice a year for professional dental cleanings and exams, and you should see your general physician at least once a year for a full physical, and more for special cases.

Dr. LaFrom screens his patients for signs of gum disease, tooth decay, oral cancer, and other serious oral conditions at each appointment they have in his Cupertino dental office. The presence of one or more of these problems often signify a risk of a larger, overall health problem. For example, gum disease often leads to diabetes, Alzheimer’s, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and pregnancy complications. Additionally, Dr. LaFrom will also screen your mouth for signs of tooth damage, bite misalignment, and ask you about your sleeping habits. These factors often signify a tooth grinding habit, chronic head or neck pain, and the presence of sleep apnea or another sleep disorder.

The Dental and Medical Divide

Years ago, the dental and medical worlds were completely disconnected, but this relationship continues to grow as more overlap between dental and overall health is discovered. Your dentist and your general physician have the same goal: to help you live a healthy, high-quality life, so tell your dentist what’s going on with your mouth and your body next time you’re in the dental chair. It’s likely that the problems are related to your dental health, as well as your total body health.

To reserve an appointment with Dr. LaFrom for early 2012, call LaFrom Dentistry at (408) 996-8595 or visit us online at

~ by cupertinodentist on February 25, 2012.

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