Creating Better Health Through Collaboration
As a dentist practicing in Atlanta, GA, Dr. Thomas Kauffman often collaborates with ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists to provide comprehensive care for our patients. The connection between oral health and ENT issues is closer than many realize. Our Atlanta dental office provides close care along with our partner ENTS to create optimal patient outcomes.
Recurring Sinus Problems
One of the most common reasons dentists refer a patient to an ENT is recurring sinus infections or chronic sinusitis. Sinus cavities are located near upper teeth, meaning inflammation can cause toothaches and discomfort. An ENT can help diagnose the underlying cause and provide specialized treatments like sinus surgery. Our Atlanta dentist coordinates with the ENT to monitor the patient’s recovery and ensure any dental factors are addressed.
Another situation where dentists and ENTs collaborate is around sleep apnea, a potentially serious sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts. Sleep apnea often causes snoring and can increase risks for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. Dentists like Dr. Kauffman are sometimes the first to suspect sleep apnea during routine exams when we notice signs like a crowded airway or enlarged tonsils. We’ll refer the patient to a sleep specialist for an official diagnosis.
In mild or moderate cases of sleep apnea, we may recommend an oral appliance from the dentist to keep the airway open at night. ENTs can also prescribe CPAP machines or other interventions. As an Atlanta dentist, Dr. Kauffman helps fit, adjust, and monitor oral appliances to ensure comfort and effectiveness.
Temporomandibular Joint Disfunction (TMD)
ENTs also play a crucial role in diagnosing and treating temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD). TMD refers to issues with the jaw joint and surrounding muscles that can cause chronic pain. Because TMD involves the jaw, dentists will perform initial exams and may order X-rays or other imaging. We can provide some treatments like mouthguards or bite adjustments. If those aren’t effective, work with an ENT or oral surgeon to explore surgical options for TMD, like arthrocentesis, to flush out the joint.
Sore throats are another common issue I’ll collaborate with ENTs on. Bacterial infections, viruses, dryness, or allergies can all cause throat pain. As dentists, we rule out problems with teeth, gums, tongue, or oral appliances.
When the discomfort persists, Dr. Kauffman will refer patients to an ENT to identify the root cause and proper solution. With their specialized scopes and imaging, ENTs can detect issues dentists can’t always spot on routine exams.
Children with ear infections or ear tube surgery will also need monitoring and follow-up from both dentists and ENTs. Ear troubles can affect hearing, balance, and behavior, which may influence a child’s growth and development. Pediatric dentists and ENTs work hand-in-hand to provide integrated care with the child’s best interest as the priority.
Cancer screenings are another area where dentists and ENTs work together. During head and neck exams, dentists can detect signs of oral cancer or thyroid abnormalities. We’ll refer any concerning lumps, lesions, or growths for further examination by an ENT. Early detection and rapid treatment provide the best chance for positive outcomes.
After experiencing facial trauma from an injury or accident, quick coordination between dentists, ENTs, and other specialists is crucial. Severe blows to the mouth or jaw can fracture teeth, dislocate joints, or break bones.
There may also be related damage to soft tissues, nerves, eyes, or sinuses. By consulting with one another, dentists and ENTs can stabilize fractured bones, replace knocked-out teeth, monitor concussions, and repair lacerations to restore form and function.
Schedule Your Appointment With Dr. Kauffman For Multi-Disciplinary Care
The worlds of dentistry and otolaryngology intersect in many medically crucial ways. Whether it’s sleep disorders, chronic sinus trouble, cancer screening, or pediatric care, patients benefit when dentists and ENTs collaborate and communicate on treatment plans. At our Atlanta dental practice, Dr. Kauffman relies on trusted referrals to ENT specialists who share our commitment to delivering better health outcomes.
Call (404) 524-1981 to schedule your appointment at our Atlanta dentist’s downtown office. We’re here to create better results by partnering with qualified physicians.