Diabetes screening at the periodontal visit: patient and provider experiences with two screening approaches

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Objectives:This study examined patient and dental provider experiences during the periodontal visit of diabetes screening approaches involving the collection of gingival crevicular blood (GCB) and finger stick blood (FSB) for haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) testing. Methods: At a large, urban, US periodontics and implant clinic, FSB samples from 120 patients and GCB samples from 102 of these patients were collected on special blood collection cards and sent to a laboratory for HbA1c testing, with test results sent to the patients from the laboratory. Quantitative and qualitative data from patients and qualitative data from providers were collected and analysed. Results: Quantitative and qualitative data support the feasibility and acceptability of the approaches described. Themes that arose from the interviews with providers and patients include ‘a good chance to check’, ‘patient choice’, ‘FSB versus GCB testing’ and ‘a new way of interacting and viewing the dental visit’. Conclusions: Periodontal patients and dental providers believe that the dental visit is an opportune site for diabetes screening and generally prefer GCB to FSB collection. HbA1c testing is well tolerated, convenient and acceptable to patients, and GCB testing reduces time and liability obstacles for dental providers to conduct diabetes screening.

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