Over the past 30 years the study of tooth decay (Cariology if you want the fancy term) has developed. So much so, that it has challenged the way we classify and treat dental decay. There have been advances in understanding the way that decay (caries) develops and progresses. We have learnt more of the effects of fluoride paired with the availability of newer biocompatible restorative materials. As importantly, methods of caries detection have once again highlighted the ever present ‘grey area’ in dental decision making.
The traditional approach to dentistry is embedded in the conservative and or operative intervention of both caries and periodontal disease. Many of us will have met the patient who is stuck in a perpetual circle of exam – treat- repeat. Consequently, there is very little change or improvement in their oral health. For many of us, this can be a real bugbear. We begin to question our clinical and motivational skills and wonder is there really a way to stop the vicious cycle?
Tooth decay – back to basics
Perhaps the answer is to start from the beginning. Take the patient back to basics and hand them a toothbrush. Most will look at you puzzled. Especially after they have just informed you that they brush five times a day and have been using Corsodyl for the past 6 months! ‘I’m telling you nothing works!’ Most of my patients are surprised when I inform them that they have been brushing ineffectively for the majority of their lives and are even more flabbergasted when I tell them why their 100th bottle of Corsodyl is doing not much more than turning their teeth a lovely shade of brown.
As far as decay goes, how many patients do you meet that are adamant that they hardly eat anything sugary at all, maybe just a couple of biscuits here and there with a nice cup of tea…but surely these biscuits that I only eat once a week can’t be the reason I need 5 fillings and a prescription strength toothpaste? The truth is many of our patients just don’t understand their own mouths and how much of an impact they themselves have on their next dental bill.
At Revive Dental Care, our aim is to empower our patients and make them aware of their own mouths. We want to treat tooth decay and periodontal disease appropriately. But we also want to send our patients away with the knowledge and tools required to maintain any treatments provided. Finally we want to help prevent more treatments from being needed. Our role must move with the times and patients need to understand that a healthy mouth requires team effort.