Many Don’t Realize Their Pain Is Abnormal

November 20, 2020 Kelley Brummett DMD

When working with participants at The Pankey Institute, I help them analyze dental cases to assess the risk for joint and muscle problems. I often hear, “The patient is not reporting any pain.” Yet, the dental records indicate the patient is at high risk of experiencing pain.

I have discovered a question to ask my patients that reveals their personal pain tolerance. “When you have a headache or muscle pain, at what level of pain do you take an Advil?” Some patients say at level 1 or 2. Others say not until it is a 12. Patients are all up and down the scale.

This one question leads to the patient’s self-discovery about how they perceive pain and potentially tolerate abnormal pain when they are “diseased.” Further conversation helps the patient understand symptoms they have been dismissing indicate abnormalities that can be “treated” for a healthier, longer-lasting dentition and more comfortable life.

And this brings me back to how we diagnose and plan treatment in general. Sometimes the questions we ask our dental patients aren’t structured to get us the information we are hoping for. If we gather inaccurate impressions from their responses to our questions, we go down the wrong path clinically. Asking more powerful, well-crafted questions allows us to better know the patient and get more complete information to better understand their situation.

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Kelley Brummett DMD

Dr. Kelley D. Brummett was born and raised in Missouri. She attended the University of Kansas on a full-ride scholarship in springboard diving and received honors for being the Big Eight Diving Champion on the 1 meter springboard in 1988 and in 1992. Dr. Kelley received her BA in communication at the University of Kansas and went on to receive her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. After practicing nursing, Dr Kelley Brummett went on to earn a degree in Dentistry at the Medical College of Georgia. She has continued her education at the Pankey Institute to further her love of learning and her pursuit to provide quality individual care. Dr. Brummett is a Clinical Instructor at Georgia Regents University and is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Brummett and her husband Darin have two children, Sarah and Sam. They have made Newnan their home for the past 9 years. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, reading and playing with her dogs. Dr. Brummett is an active member of the ADA, GDA, AGDA, and an alumni of the Pankey Institute.

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Your Patients Want to Know: Is Sleep Apnea Causing their Morning Headaches?

September 3, 2019 Deborah Bush, MA

You are accustomed to consulting with patients about the association of TMD with craniofacial pain, but the link to sleep disorders should now be on your radar. Your patients want to know that you can help them sort out whether their frequently occurring headaches are the result of TMD, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a combination of the two, and/or other comorbidities.

Because research evidence suggests up to 50% of individuals suffering from morning headaches have OSA, every dentist likely has some sufferers they can detect, educate, diagnose, and refer or treat. If you are not already an expert in Dental Sleep Medicine, The Pankey Institute’s immersive Dental Sleep Medicine course is one of the best in the country.

A preclinical interview that includes questions about headaches will get you started with a co-discovery diagnosis for OSA related headaches and set you and your patient on the path for the most appropriate diagnostic testing and treatment.

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About Author

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Deborah Bush, MA

Deb Bush is a freelance writer specializing in dentistry and a subject matter expert on the behavioral and technological changes occurring in dentistry. Before becoming a dental-focused freelance writer and analyst, she served as the Communications Manager for The Pankey Institute, the Communications Director and a grant writer for the national Preeclampsia Foundation, and the Content Manager for Patient Prism. She has co-authored and ghost-written books for dental authorities, and she currently writes for multiple dental brands which keeps her thumb on the pulse of trends in the industry.

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