Cavities, caries tooth decay…, these are all terms used to describe the same dental problem, which is in fact one of the most common issues that people face with their teeth. In fact, dental caries is probably one of the few things keeping the tooth fairy in business.
Any wonder, then, that parents everywhere keep warning their kids to stay off the candy and brush their teeth regularly? Regular dental checkups can also help keep tooth decay at bay, since we can check the health of your teeth and let you know if you’re at risk.
What is Cavity Risk Assessment?
Cavity risk assessment is a preventive dental procedure that helps us identify the possibility of tooth decay before it occurs, so we can help you keep it from happening at all. If your teeth are already affected by caries, Dr. Patel can also suggest the right measures and perform corrective treatment to keep it from spreading.
Dental cavities, which are also known as caries or simply tooth decay, occur when the enamel protecting your teeth breaks down. This leaves them open to attack from a wide range of nasty bacteria that “eat into” your teeth, much like microscopic miners!
Dental caries is a complex disease process involving the normal bacterial make up in your mouth, the food you eat and the surface of your teeth. It’s a common dental health complaint across every age group. Over 90% of all adults over the age of 20 have some form of tooth decay, and it’s equally common among children and teens too.
When do you Need Cavity Risk Assessment?
Cavity risk assessment is ideally something that you should schedule on a regular basis, but especially if:
- You eat a lot of sweet, acidic or heavily processed foods (these can lead to bacterial buildup and enamel damage).
- You don’t have a proper routine for brushing, flossing and oral hygiene, or haven’t visited a dentist in a while.
- You’ve had tooth decay in the last 3 years (chances of reoccurrence are quite high if you’ve already had it).
- You notice changes in tooth color, spots or stains, cracks, chips or sensitivity to hot/cold foods.
- You’ve had other medical issues (heavy medication can also lead to bacterial imbalance and enamel loss).
What Does the Procedure Involve?
- Typically, the procedure begins with a bunch of questions that tell us what you eat, how well you clean your teeth, and your medical history.
- Based on your answers to these questions, we can identify any potential risk factors that may lead to tooth decay.
- If necessary, we will conduct a biofilm test which helps us identify specific aggressive strains of bacteria.
- Dental x-rays, cleaning and oral examinations are also conducted, to check the general health of your teeth and oral cavity.
- We will then suggest medication, dietary changes or dental therapies that can minimize the impact of these risk factors.
- If we find evidence of existing caries or other dental disorders, we will also suggest cosmetic or restorative procedures to help correct them.
Despite improvements like fluoridated water, toothpaste and other products in recent history, tooth decay remains a troublesome and widely-prevalent dental problem. Good oral hygiene, nutritious meals and professional cleaning are essential, to keep it at bay.
Regular dental checkups are equally essential, since we can assess your risk and tell you the best ways to prevent cavities based on your unique diet, lifestyle and routine. We can also help you with dental sealants, which are like armor for your teeth!