* denotes required field

Your Name: *



Gender: *

Personal Email: *

This will be your username

Password: *

Display Name: *

This will be what others see in social areas of the site.

Address: *










Phone Number:

School/University: *

Graduation Date: *

Date of Birth: *

ASDA Membership No:





Hi returning User! please login with Facebook credentials where Facebook Username is same as THENEXTDDS Username.






Posted by:

THE NEXTDDS Student Ambassador Blogs

Interprofessional Patient Care

 Permanent link   All Posts


While we hear all the time in dental school about “treating the whole patient” and “comprehensive patient care,” I learned a lot today at a required Inter-professional Meeting involving several other student healthcare professionals at UNLV.  While we are all aware of the connection between oral and systemic health, and we have open lines of communication with the patient’s physician, cardiologist, etc., implementing a care team that routinely includes the dentist in the plan is a challenge.

In my assigned group at the meeting today, there were student professionals from the fields of Social Work, Nursing, Psychology, and Physical Therapy, as well as Dentistry.  All of the other professions expressed their surprise at our presence at this meeting and wondered aloud what we as dentists could contribute to a complex patient’s medical care plan. 

Many false assumptions that we all had about each other’s professions were rectified and we all left with a greater understanding and respect for what each contributes to our common goal which is the health and well-being of our patients.  When presented with a complex case study, it was natural for all of us to approach it from our own area of specialized training.  Combined, we were able to synthesize care plans with breadth and depth that none of us could have come close to on our own.  It is surprising the things we don’t think about because we are so focused on our specific piece of the puzzle.

While we all agreed that this meeting was enlightening and inspiring, we struggled to come up with ways to actually implement a care team involving all of us on a regular basis.  While a care team that focuses on health and prevention can save money in the long run by minimizing ER visits and deteriorating health conditions…  How would we all make time to consult with each other?  How would reimbursement work?  Is this even economically feasible for a patient to have access to this many providers?  What we came up with is that while patients are unlikely to seek out care from a “team” of healthcare professionals one appointment at a time, utilizing technology can make it more plausible.  Online consults between professionals on the Team, with one person as the coordinator of the Team who is ultimately responsible for overseeing that all goals are being accomplished as well as acting as the liaison to the patient is the only realistic option. 

When asked how WE, as new graduates, the future of our professions, could facilitate this type of care model, lots of ideas were tossed around and they all seemed kind of vague.  I think just as general dentists routinely form relationships with dental specialists for whom they can refer and confer on patient care, so should they form relationships with other professionals.  I would like to establish a relationship with a social worker in my community who can put my patients in touch with available resources.  I would like to work closely with a nurse practitioner, a physical therapist, and a psychologist that I can send my patients to or confer with on common dental issues such as diabetes-exacerbated periodontal disease, TMD, chronic pain, stress-related bruxism, nutritional problems, eating disorders, xerostomia, etc.  Sharing in the total health care plan of our patients builds value for the patient and dramatically increases the quality of care being delivered by each of these professions.