?As many as 27 million people visit a dentist but not a physician in a given year," said Dr. Kamyar Nasseh, the lead author of the study published by the ADA Health Policy Resources Center. This increased number of patients puts responsibility on the dentist to do a chairside screening, or refer the patient to a physician when a warning sign is detected during a normal oral exam. Doing so can not only save lives, but save the healthcare system ?up to $102.6 million dollars,? according to the study authors.
"As we dentists know, leaving conditions undiagnosed and untreated typically leads to more expensive procedures down the road," said ADA President Charles Norman. "The same goes for medical conditions, and if dentists can help catch some of these earlier, we're helping not only the patient save money down the road but the health care system as a whole."
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About the Author: Dr. Darshan Patel practices dentistry at Esthetique Dental in Keller, TX.