Monday, April 18, 2011

Should Periodontists Help Their Patients Quit Smoking?

The short answer is yes, but.....
If you answered yes, then you are in good company. A recent study that surveyed 231 periodontists found 92% believe that tobacco-cessation interventions are a responsibility of the dental profession (Journal of Periodontology, March 2011, Vol. 82:3, pp. 367-376).

Tobacco use and dependence is an oral health problem and has a great impact on the development and progression of periodontal disease, said study author Laura Romito, DDS, an associate professor at the Indiana University School of Dentistry, in an interview with

"We believe tobacco-dependence treatment is a vital component of periodontal practice, and we were interested in evaluating the extent to which practices had incorporated tobacco-dependence treatment in their practice protocols," she said.
The but... comes from formal tobacco cessation programs.

Education of the patient about the ravages of smoking and other forms of tobacco use is important and imperative for the dentist and dental specialists. But, involving practitioners in an area of practice that may be considered the practice of medicine carries some risk.

Also, from where will the remuneration come? Certainly, medical insurance may be reluctant to reimburse patients for a dentist performing the smoking cessation program.

Education, yes. Formal smoking cessation programs by periodontists and/or general dentists probably won't be happening.

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