A philosophy of treatment of Caries Management by Risk Assessment has recently been implemented. This aims to classify your risk of dental caries (commonly known as tooth decay) by using a questionnaire of risk factors and clinical observations as well as a simple and quick bacteriological test. Once assessed, necessary treatment can be implemented according to your risk. This philosophy is based on ground-breaking research carried out in California and is backed up by six years of data. It is then up to you to decide whether to implement recommendations and changes to your lifestyle, diet, oral hygiene, toothpastes, mouthwashes, chewing gums, and other oral medicaments to better manage your dental caries.
Conservative Caries Management has the idealised outcome that more tooth structure is preserved and fewer teeth become affected by dental decay. There are a few guiding principles.
- Detect caries early enough so that early non-cavitated lesions can be reversed or at least arrested from progressing by chemical means rather than by “restoration”, i.e. fillings. Use of laser fluorescence “Diagnodent ” and “Cariescan” by electrical impedance are two diagnostic aids we have access to, to help with this early detection.
- Assess the individual risk of caries progression (the caries risk assessment form).
- Use fluoride to enhance remineralisation and/or reduce the bacterial challenge by use of anti-bacterial therapy.
- Use minimally invasive restoration procedures to conserve tooth structure.