Background: The prevalence of diabetes mellitus (DM) has been increasing. Instances of patients' not having received a diagnosis have been reported widely, as have instances of poor control of DM or prediabetes among patient's who have the disease. These facts indicate that blood glucose screening is needed.
Methods: As part of The Dental Practice-Based Research Network, the authors conducted a study in community dental practices to test the feasibility of screening patients for abnormal random blood glucose levels by means of glucometers and finger-stick testing. Practitioners and staff members were trained to use a glucometer, and they then screened consecutive patients older than 19 years at each practice until 15 patients qualified for the study and provided consent. Perceived barriers to and benefits of blood glucose testing (BGT) were reported by patients and dental office personnel on questionnaires.
Results: Twenty-eight practices screened 498 patients. A majority of the respondents from the 67 participating dental offices considered BGT useful and worth routine implementation. They did not consider duration of BGT or its cost to be significant barriers. Among patients, more than 80 percent thought BGT in dental practice was a good idea and found it easy to withstand; 62 percent were more likely to recommend their dentists to others if BGT was offered.
Conclusion: BGT was well received by patients and practitioners. These results support the feasibility of implementation of BGT in community dental practices.
Clinical implications: Improved diagnosis and control of DM may be achieved through implementation of BGT in community dental practices.