A Program for Health and Wealth
SINCE I LEARNED of Pharmanex’s biophotonic scanner as a non-invasive way to measure our antioxidant status, I have begun to think of systemic causes of disease as an area that we should concentrate on more. We as dentists essentially deal with local problems, rarely thinking of these problems as local manifestations of systemic deficiencies. Yet, if we think about it we realize that there are many systemic disease states that overcome our natural immunities, autoimmune diseases that turn our own defenses against ourselves, reduce our salivary flow, reducing the natural cleansing action to our teeth and gingiva. A well-known rule regarding international business is to think globally and act locally. While we institute whatever local treatments we perceive as helping the patient, we should be cognizant of the ultimate systemic conditions that may be producing the condition that we are treating.
Periodontal disease is perhaps the most documented dental condition that has improved from the addition of supplements to the diet. At Loma Linda University, a double blind study of methods to reduce pocket depth demonstrated that results attained through 30 days of supplements were superior to results from scaling and root planning even when augmented with local antibiotic therapy. The improvement of localized manifestations of disease by systemic treatment should not surprise us. It happens all the time in medicine. Systemic antibiotics eliminate the swelling of a periapical abscess. A patient with gout, having tremendous pain in the big toe, gets relief because the allopurinol and colchicine prescribed for treatment reduce the systemic level of uric acid.
Unlike specific medications, supplements are not taken to solve a particular problem, but are used to elevate the status of our immune system. Research is clearly establishing high antioxidant levels as a cornerstone of a well functioning immune system. Yet despite the increasing amount of literature that supports these findings, we still have to deal with the fact that most people will not submit to periodic blood testing to determine their antioxidant status. That has all changed with the biophotonic scanner, a machine that determines an individual’s antioxidant status in 90 seconds without drawing blood. With this tool, a patient and the dentist can have a good idea of the patient’s nutritional status, the strength of the immune system, and a realistic estimate of the patient’s resistance to the manifestation of localized disease states. Where the measurements show a low score, supplements are recommended and follow-up scans show if the supplements are working.
The ability to know when to recommend supplements and to then know if they are being absorbed did not exist without repetitive blood testing until the advent of the biophotonic scanner. The increasing body of evidence showing the link between overall health, a slower aging process, and progressively more vigor goes way beyond the use of supplements to reduce the local manifestations of periodontal disease. Those links include a reduction in macular degeneration, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes for those having high levels of circulating antioxidants. In fact, research has clearly established an inverse link between antioxidant status and morbidity. For pregnant mothers, a low level of antioxidants has been established as associated with low birth weight.
The preponderance of evidence, increasing on a daily basis, gives us the tools to monitor and beneficially modify our patients’ antioxidant status. The biophotonic scanner allows us to individualize our response to patients based on their own unique status. We will be able to separate those who are depleted nutritionally from those who are in a good state of health as well as those in between, customize our response, and evaluate the effectiveness of our treatments. The ability to evaluate nutritional status does not modify our procedures, but it gives us the ability to perform our procedures within a biologic environment that gives the patient the best chances for success and maintenance of that success.
With this potential readily in our hands, we have to make the decision whether or not we want to incorporate these capabilities into our practices. From a financial point of view, the investment in having these capabilities is minimal. A $3400 investment gives the dentist a computer directly linked to Pharmanex that also runs the program assessing the information conveyed by the biophotonic scanner. The biophotonic scanner is a $20,000 machine that is leased for $209 a month. The dentist does not buy the scanner. A lease of $209 a month x 12 months = $2508 added to the $3400 = $5908. The $3400 investment occurs only once with the $209 monthly lease payment waived once 50 patients are on supplements. A typical low fee for scanning of $20 applied to 300 patients over the course of a year produces revenues of $6000, exceeding the entire initial investment. Income from more scans or scans based on a higher fee go to the practice.
Pharmanex’s supplements have been documented by the National Science Foundation as quality full spectrum products that are guaranteed to increase patients’ nutritional scores. The patients’ cost is approximately $100 per month and can replace whatever supplements they are presently taking. The supplements are supplied entirely by the company requiring no stocking orders on the part of the dental practice. Once $3000 per month in patient supplements is reached (a total of only 30 patients), the practice is rewarded 20 percent of the supplements’ costs. This goes up to 25 percent when $6000 per month is reached. In addition, the $209 lease payment is waived. If, in fact, 100 patients are on supplements they will be generating $120,000 per year and the practice will be rewarded $30,000 plus whatever income is generated by the scans.
While the above description is a solid foundation for building an auxiliary income, it is a service for the patients that is unique. Those who are healthy and need no supplements will have documentation that supports this view. Those who are in need of supplements will know their status and have the option of taking appropriate measures. The practitioner now has a tool to correlate periodontal health with nutritional status and where supplemental support is necessary it can now be accurately supplied. We should not lose sight of the fact that the benefits are systemic. Research has clearly indicated an overwhelming correlation between high antioxidant status and a reduction in morbidity as well as a host of degenerative diseases that afflict all of us. We now have the tools to fight back.
October - December 2011