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A peer-reviewed article written by Kelly Divito, RDH, BSDH
As the rate of obesity climbs in the United States, so does the rate at which people have bariatric surgery. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) estimates that, in 2017 alone, more than 220,000 people had bariatric surgery.1 Dental clinicians, whether aware of it or not, have likely treated patients who have had this type of surgery. There is a stigma with weight-loss surgery (WLS) that causes some people to keep it private. Unfortunately, presurgical patients are not required to have dental clearance, and they are not educated on preventive dental treatment, including how their postsurgical diet will affect their oral and dental health. This course highlights clinical findings and dental considerations that may present in patients who have had bariatric surgery. The author collected anecdotal evidence through anonymous online surveys completed by post-bariatric-surgery patients and dental professionals that examine dental experiences from both patient and clinician viewpoints.
At the conclusion of this educational activity, participants will be able to:
1. Define bariatric surgery
2. Describe the different bariatric surgeries
3. Articulate dental considerations with weight-loss-surgery patients
4. Assess pre- and postoperative dental risk factors
5. Identify clinical signs of vitamin deficiency
6. Gain confidence in speaking to patients about bariatric surgery and dental considerations
Kelly Divito, RDH,BSDH, graduated from The Ohio State University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in dental hygiene. She is a member of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, American Academy of Oral and Systemic Health, the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention, and is a founding member of the National Network of Healthcare Hygienists. She has served as secretary of her local dental hygiene component board in Northern Virginia. Kelly is a board member at large of the Ohio State University College of Dentistry Dental Alumni Society Board of Governors. She has been a professional educator on behalf of WaterPik since 2017. Kelly has practiced clinically in general, periodontal, prosthodontic, orthodontic, and public health settings. She is active in the military community as a volunteer. Her passions include education, research, philanthropy, and evidenced-based practice. Kelly lives in Maryland with her husband and son. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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