Many medical diagnostic and preventive regimens involve first assessing the patient’s risk of getting a disease. The risk factors can be identified and then tests and treatments adjusted appropriately. This is the case with heart disease risk related to family history, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and chronic periodontal infection. A new dental program strives to do the same thing for dental caries (decay).
Called CaMBRA (Caries Management By Risk Assessment), the risk of new dental decay is determined by such factors as dietary habits (Such as frequent soft drink consumption), past history of decay, dry mouth from disease or medications, fluoride use, and others. These factors are assigned a number value and totaled to determine the patient’s risk of new decay. The treatment rendered can then be altered to fit the need.
The treatments may include increasing fluoride levels with brush on gel or high strength toothpaste, taking more frequent x-rays to catch early decay sooner, and adding additional hygiene procedures (Like power toothbrushes). Your dental office team will constantly monitor your individual dental needs and circumstances and adjust the therapy to fit the current situation.
As adults in the U.S. are making fewer visits to the dental office, it’s important to recognize that some will have less potential for problems than others when having check-ups farther apart. If you have a history of more frequent dental disease, you may be penny wise and pound foolish to skip regular visits.
If you have a question as to your appointment frequency, or the frequency of x-rays, or any other “routine” procedures, talk to the staff at your dental office. Any treatment should be customized to the individual patient’s needs. Simply put, there is no such thing as routine in medical care. There are, however, some legal considerations in providing a reasonable level of care that is consistent with the established standards.