From the time a patient walks through her practice door, Dr. Parihan Tamkin begins monitoring their orientation to surroundings, complexion, and behavior. The Smile Bar Dallas owner focuses on helping her patients achieve an overall sound mind and body, as well as a healthy smile. From a dental checkup, Dr. Tamkin’s awareness of full-body health helped the Texas dentist diagnose a longtime patient with pemphigoid, a rare autoimmune disorder caused by a malfunction of the immune system.
When the patient arrived at Smile Bar for a routine visit, Dr. Tamkin immediately noticed his red gums. Understanding his full health history, the doctor referred her patient to a periodontist for a biopsy, who then referred him to a dermatologist to ensure there would be no long-term health damages.
“He was reluctant at first to see another doctor,” Dr. Tamkin said. “But I told him, if it were my family, I would want them to go see someone else. Better to be safe than sorry.”
The patient was extremely grateful for Dr. Tamkin and her early detection.
Her focus on bigger-picture dentistry stems from a strong background in medicine. In addition to receiving her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from NYU College of Dentistry, Dr. Tamkin graduated among the top five in her class from Pakistan’s Jinnah Medical and Dental College.
“I am working to change the dialogue and get my patients to understand dental health and see the connection between systemic health and how it can change daily life,” she said.
Dr. Tamkin frames the importance of dental and overall health in terms patients can understand. For her older female patients experiencing dry mouth, she asks about their hormone levels and recommends products that can increase moisture. For children, she makes the analogy of food left to rot on the table and food left in the mouth from not brushing.
“Patients are more willing to take care of their oral health if you explain the problems, show them everything, and talk to them,” Dr. Tamkin said. “The treatment plan is established together, but the decision is made by the patient. It’s either good for them or not.”
Advice for other dentists: see the bigger picture.
“We’re not limited to only oral cavities,” Dr. Tamkin said. “As healthcare providers first, we have a huge responsibility. We might be teeth specialists, but by not looking at everything, we are doing a disservice to our profession and patients.”
The positive results for patients at Smile Bar Dallas affirm Dr. Tamkin’s philosophy that taking the extra time to examine a patient’s overall health may just save their life.