09 Dec Get To Know AAOSH
AAOSH, commonly known as the American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, is a hidden gem I mined out of my dental mountain of materials a year ago. After realizing several “a-ha” moments in private practice, based on years of putting two-and-two together with patient care, I wanted to share my thoughts and interests with like-minded individuals. The Michigan Dental Association members filled this need; the MDA embarked on the “Health body, Healthy mouth” theme and more dentists began to see themselves in medical roles in addition to tooth fixer roles. It’s was almost like someone took the blinders off, and we could see the whole patient again after spending much time and energy narrowly focused on the teeth.
As I pursued this interest, and decided to share this message more nationally as a speaker and a teacher, I researched the topics. Again and again AAOSH surfaced. Finally, last Spring, I became a member and explored the academy more thoroughly.
One place I connect with AAOSH members quite frequently is through the LinkedIn group page managed by Danny Bobrow. I had the chance to interview Danny about AAOSH. His insightful words can be viewed on my YouTube channel here. Danny captures the essence of AAOSH more clearly than I can. He also offers more details about the benefits of connecting to this group.
I know some dentists wonder why we should be concerned with collaborating with other health care professionals so much, and some wonder why right now—somewhat suddenly. Truthfully, the connection between oral and systemic health has always been there. Unfortunately, many of us did not learn about it in dental or medical school; it evolved for me in my practice. Dental school focused on teeth. There was a lot to learn regarding the head and neck areas. We studied gross anatomy courses and learned about other body parts and systems, but we really never got to put the pieces back together after dissecting them apart. The foundation was there, and that’s how I believe I was able to piece things together later in my career. I also blame (or credit) my inquisitive nature for wanting to know why things happen as they do. Furthermore, I am a long term thinker, and I wanted to build things to last in my practice. When I missed cues about a patient’s whole health, I ended up repairing the same teeth over and over again. It bothered me. As I dug deeper into my patients’ health issues, I discovered underlying reasons for cracked teeth or recurrent decay. Literal eureka moments came about as I compared similar patient pains or problems. These moments started with teeth or mouth indicators, but the mouth often revealed a much deeper problem with a patient’s overall systemic health.
For the first week after my eureka moments, I thought I was a genius. I quietly reveled in this new knowledge I stumbled upon, and then I got curious again. I knew I could not be the only “genius” out there in the dental world. Sure enough, many other health care professions began to see what I was seeing as well (or already had been seeing it). Many of those people are in AAOSH, and I am finding more and more colleagues along the oral and systemic pathway to whole patient health.
As I speak and teach about issues Beyond 32 Teeth, I learn as much as I expound. This is new territory for many of us. We have new products to consider, new research to siphon, and new technology to test in our hands.
I am appreciative for Danny Bobrow’s help in further understanding the work of AAOSH, and for his work in his own consulting business, AIM Dental Marketing.
It will take many more ideas, thoughts, products, and innovators to foster collaborative relationships between all healthcare professionals. We are a competitive bunch with strong wills. We want to leap ahead and be the first to discover new patient innovations, yet, also, we must ensure safety and uphold ethical standards. Being at the forefront and on the cutting edge is demanding and daring work. I applaud AAOSH and Dr. Chris Kammer for rounding up the oral and systemic thinkers in dentistry. Best to you all at the 5th Annual Scientific Session, “Healthcare Roundup,” in Dallas, Texas, this week. I plan to attend next year’s session in Orlando, Florida, and mingle with whole health professionals from around the world. For now, I will have to settle for a DVD recap of the 2015 meeting once completed. I know I won’t be able to touch all of the new technology or get the health screenings I want, but I will be able to listen to the speakers and learn more about this complex system of systems we call the human body.