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‘Fearful Patient Becomes Confident’

Award Winners: Dr. John Blattner, Dr. Dwight Heberer, and Meghan Dunham, RDH.

SmilesrForever Dentistry in Waterloo, IL.

Dr. John Blattner, Dr. Dwight Heberer, and Meghan Dunham, RDH

Fearful patients who avoid the dentist for years can easily ignore the risks of avoidance. Dental diseases don’t hurt in the early stages and patients feel fine, but distrust and anxiety can mount when patients notice symptoms that prompt them to make an appointment. Addressing the fears of patients and earning their trust is the very first step. The dental team at Dr. John Blattner and Dr. Dwight Heberer’s office was recently recognized with the Orkos case study award for their minimally invasive approaches that helped a fearful patient accept treatment and get healthier.

The patient first presented to Dr. Blattner in March 2015 with advanced gum disease known as periodontitis. Bone support for the teeth was lost, threatening tooth loss. Gums were inflamed and calculus deposits were heavy. The patient had avoided the dentist for more than ten years. To complicate the evaluation, the patient was not a native English speaker. It was hard to gain his trust and commitment to appointments.

Treatment started with scaling in June 2015 followed by regular three-month maintenance appointments. Progress was apparent. In September 2016, pocket probing depths had improved substantially, but 5-7mm pockets remained. Bleeding had dropped from 47% to 38%. To address the persistent problems, Dr. Blattner prescribed Perio Trays® to place hydrogen peroxide gel and doxycycline deep into periodontal pockets.

Research shows that when the Perio Tray® delivery of peroxide is incorporated into patient homecare, pocket depths and bleeding are substantially reduced. Vibramycin® syrup (a doxycycline) delivered in a Perio Tray® has been shown to stabilize bone support. Dr. Blattner recommended using the trays several times a day in 15-minute increments.

After three weeks of Perio Tray® delivery, hygienist Meghan Radcliff noted improvements in pocketing and considerably less bleeding. Gum tissue tone was noted as less red, more of a healthy pink, and less swollen. When the patient returned in early December, full periodontal charting shows additional improvements in pocket depths and only 1% bleeding on probing.

For patients with chronic periodontitis, the Perio Tray® is as important as a toothbrush. It delivers antimicrobial and oxygenating agents deep below the gums where toothbrush, rinse, and floss can’t reach. When used regularly, Perio Tray® delivery can improve and maintain gum health for years. At this patient’s most recent periodontal maintenance visit in September 2017, there was no bleeding on probing.

“We are so excited about this case,” explains the hygienist Meghan Dunham, “because the patient was reluctant to accept treatment in the beginning. We were afraid that his case was irreversible. Once he started using tray therapy and changed his hygiene, we could see so much improvement. Now he is one of our best patients, always raving about his success with Perio Protect. For me,” she continues, “the additional benefit is to see him smile with confidence. He no longer shields his mouth when he smiles. The peroxide has also lightened his teeth and he has a wide, white, bright smile.”

“Perio Protect LLC is proud to work with dental teams doing such good work.” says Managing Director Tanya Dunlap. “It is our privilege to participate in their care for patients and to have the opportunity to see their success.” The Orkos Award for excellence in case study was founded by Perio Protect to recognize and honor the work of dental professionals to improve the gingival health of their patients.

This case stood out to the award committee,” explains Dunlap, “not only for the significant improvements in the patient’s health, but also for the approach the team took to address the patient’s fears and gain his trust.”

For additional information on the dental practice of Drs. Blattner and Heberer in Waterloo, IL, visit Details on prescription Perio Tray® therapy is posted at

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