Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Dental Hygiene

Department

Dental Hygiene

Abstract

"The association of periodontal disease and atherosclerotic vascular disease is proven in current scientific literature, however there is no empirical evidence that suggests cardiologists recognize this association or collaborate with dentists to address this association for patients. This study utilized qualitative research method to investigate the current beliefs and practices of five cardiologists. Using a standardized open-ended interview technique, the cardiologists were asked 12 interview questions designed to answer three research questions. Grounded theory method of analysis was followed in order to generate theories to answer the research questions. Results imply that while cardiologists accept the oral-systemic link as associative and relevant to cardiovascular disease, they are not convinced treating periodontal disease or collaborating with dentists will affect health outcomes for their patients. Theories to support this finding are: (a) lack of time; can only focus on well known risk factors, (b) if something is obvious about the oral health, it will be discussed with the patient, (c) adhere to practice standards and guidelines, and (d) collaboration will only happen if the dentist initiates it. The findings suggest the dental team needs to be prepared to address the oral-systemic link with patients because they are not likely to hear it at the cardiology office. Additionally, because cardiologists are not formally trained to detect all types of oral infection, and do not routinely refer to dentists for evaluation; they are missing an opportunity to reduce inflammation that may improve health outcomes"--Document.

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