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Letters: What is your blood pressure?

December 09, 2013

For the last 42 years that I have attended the ADA Annual Session, this year's was a complete disappointment in that there was no health screening. It is hard to believe that no one has complained before or after this meeting about this situation. This is one of the most important member benefit programs the ADA has to offer. Every year I look forward to the program where I and others can obtain at least a thousand dollars or more of health screenings at little or no cost. Even though most of us have had a health checkup during the year, this program alerts us to problems that may have arisen.

The statistics that the ADA gathers from the program are invaluable. The results that dentists obtain about their health condition are just as invaluable. Over the years this program has been one of the most well-received and well-respected the ADA has ever presented.

If financial constraints were the cause of not having this screening in 2013 then hopefully it will be rectified in future years. Most, if not all of us, have some type of health insurance and/or Medicare that we can use to defray medical costs. Annual Sessions are held in large cities that have both dental and medical schools where graduate students and advanced students could volunteer to help perform some of these tests. Medical schools could provide ophthalmology, ENT and audiology. Other professional schools could provide podiatry and chiropractors. Dental schools could provide advanced or graduate students to perform oral cancer screenings and oral health and periodontal exams.

If none of this is feasible, then with the advent of salivary diagnostics many of these exams could be performed with the individual's saliva or a cheek swab eliminating invasive procedures.

I truly hope that the ADA can resurrect this great program next year in San Antonio and in future years.

Robert Trager, D.D.S.
Jamaica, N.Y.