DID YOU KNOW that a trip to your dentist may include a diabetes screening?
With 37.1 percent of the state’s adult population (2,483,000 adults) believed to be pre-diabetic (with most not knowing it), some dentists in New Jersey are now playing a frontline role in ensuring that their at-risk patients get referred to their physician for a definite diagnosis to receive proper care.
Researchers determined that persons with diabetes are statistically more prone to gum disease—and people with periodontal issues are more likely to have or develop diabetes. At Delta Dental’s request, diabetes chairside A1c blood testing was recognized as being within the scope of dental practice by the New Jersey State Board of Dentistry.
In 2018, also related to a Delta Dental request, the American Dental Association created a new dental procedure code for a chairside A1c test; a simple finger prick blood test can determine patients’ average blood sugar levels over the last three months.
Allowing dentists to conduct this testing allows for earlier detection, better treatment outcomes, and the potential to help offset the $9.2 billion it costs to treat diagnosed diabetes in New Jersey.
Oral health is a crucial determinant of a patient’s overall health. With Delta Dental of New Jersey now offering coverage of A1c testing for most of their members, dentists are well positioned to support earlier recognition of diabetes and to refer their patients to their physician earlier in the disease process.