Seeing a patient who had previously had caries every visit finish two years of check-ups without a cavity was the moment that they had all been working toward. All the changes, all the extra effort to revamp patient procedures, the investment in new equipment had been to achieve this moment, not just for this patient but for every patient who walked through the door.
After years of watching patients do everything they knew to try and prevent cavities still end up with cavities, in pain and frustrated, the staff at Lowman Family Dental knew it was time to make a change. They implemented a formal CAMBRA (Caries Management by Risk Assessment) program in the office using CariFree products. After 2 years, they had data to support their impression that things were improving for their patients.
What Works: Data Collection!
The real appeal of working with the CariFree system is that it gives quantitative data (objectively measurable information) to guide patient care. The CariScreen Meter allows tracking the bacterial conditions in a patient’s oral environment over time. It’s possible to evaluate how a specific treatment for home care has been working with numbers, not just guesses.
What Works: Consistency
It’s important to check in with the patient at every visit. Every visit needs to include time for a caries risk assessment (CRA), screening for numbers, nutritional guidance, and a discussion of home care routines and products.
Attention Needed: Patient Understanding
Patients need to understand that you are not interested in peddling products; you’re interested in curing a disease of the teeth. Needing to come in every three months while treating aggressive disease and spending more for prescription/professional oral care products can worry patients new to thinking about cavities as a disease process.
Taking time to explain to patients that a healthy pH works to keep the flora in the oral environment healthy can help them understand why you are recommending lifestyle changes and products that support a healthy pH. Explaining that caries is an infection and need to be treated like other infectious diseases to be properly treated can help get them to understand why you are recommending a long term treatment plan aimed at rooting out the disease.
Why Stick With It: It Works!
The staff at Lowman Family Dental have been diligently tracking patient outcomes, and they have looked at the data. The numbers are showing patients who previously suffered frequent caries staying cavity free for 2 years. They are able to help their patients avoid anguishing visits to the dentist and enjoy a healthier mouth and life. They are able to provide care for an entire disease, not just treat a bothersome symptom.
Congratulations to the Lowman Family Dental patients who have earned their two year cavity free t-shirts! We’re proud to have played a part in their improved oral health.