Caring for our patients in a dental environment requires critical thinking skills. Patients often present with complex medical histories that include diabetes symptoms before a formal diagnosis is established. We have a golden opportunity to recognize short- and long-term diabetes-related symptoms in asymptomatic patients. By investigating and asking pertinent questions when the opportunity arises, we can impact our patients’ clinical course of diabetes and, hopefully, decrease the amount of time they will be exposed to high levels of adverse risk factors like hypertension, obesity, and impaired glucose tolerance. Once risk factors are controlled, complications may be lessened because macrovascular (affecting large arteries) and microvascular (affecting capillaries and small blood vessels) are the major cause of morbidity and mortality. In addition, the cost of managing these complications is prohibitively expensive. Let’s continue to challenge ourselves to accept a new paradigm of care in the 21st century that includes a focus on patient wellness and early detection of systemic diseases like diabetes.
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