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Virginia is a 65-year-old woman who visits her community health clinic for a routine check-up. She has a history of Type 2 diabetes, obesity, hyperlipidemia, and hypertension. The health care team understands the importance of a team-based, collaborative approach to monitor her oral health and systemic health conditions.
What should the primary health care team do to maintain a climate of mutual respect?
While you are conducting an oral health history to assess Virginia’s oral health status, she reports that she brushes her teeth twice a day and that her gums bleed occasionally. She does not use dental floss. She also states that her last dental visit was “several years ago” and has not returned due to a lack of dental insurance.
As a primary care clinician, how would you appropriately assess and address this patient’s oral and systemic health care needs?
When you examine Virginia’s mouth, you notice that she has a loose tooth and her gums are red and swollen. You explain to Virginia the importance of good oral health in relation to managing her diabetes and counsel on improved hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing. The nurse shows Virginia proper brushing and flossing techniques. You recommend that she see a dentist as soon as possible. Because you work in a community health center (CHC) with co-located dental facilities, you ask that an appointment be arranged with the dentist when Virginia is finished with your visit. Because she does not have dental insurance, she will meet with the social worker as well to discuss the cost of the dental visit and potential opportunities to cover some of those costs.
How would you communicate with Virginia and other health care providers in a way that supports a patient-centered team approach to oral and systemic health care?