One of most common questions regarding caries management therapy is, “Will the patient need to be on therapy products for life?” Like most medical questions, the answer is never black-and-white and every patient is different. For this reason, in conjunction with members of the Western, Central, and Eastern CAMBRA Coalitions, a Caries Management Guide (See Figure 20) was developed to provide direction for both the practitioner and the patient on what level of therapy is necessary at each level of risk as patients move their personal balance toward health.
The short answer to the long-term maintenance question is to follow the Caries Management Guide and, based on each patient’s specific risk assessment, follow the recommendations provided. For some patients who, with therapy, eliminate many of the factors driving their disease, they will move to a lower risk category. Low and moderate caries risk patients have choices within the Caries Management Guide to opt out of using any professional/prescription therapy products and use common over-the-counter dental products designed for low risk patients. Moderate- and high-caries-risk patients with unmodifiable risk factors may have ongoing need for continued professional/prescription therapy products and strategies.