Caries risk assessment has been around for a while. However, new findings of the true benefits continue to surface. Here are 5 ways caries risk assessment is beneficial to the practitioner and the patient.
1. Caries Risk Assessment is Predictive
We can tell the patient with confidence what will happen in the future. It allows us to then prescribe preventive therapy based on actual knowledge instead of a gut feeling.
Identification of patients at greater risk for future caries helps clinicians to plan appropriate personalized care. In this study, a multifactorial approach to caries risk assessment effectively stratified patients into groups of higher or lower caries propensity. Dentists can apply risk assessment in practice antecedent to patient-tailored caries management. Source
2. There is an outcome
When patients are provided anti-cavity products repeatedly vs. a one-time conversation DMFT is reduced by 1.
Approximately half the patients did not receive any form of non-operative anti-caries agent. Most that received anti-caries agents were given more than one type of product in combination. One-time delivery of anti-caries agents was associated with a similar DFT increment as receiving no such therapy (difference in increment: -0.04; 95% CI: -0.28, 0.21). However, repeated, spaced delivery of anti-caries agents was associated with approximately one decayed or restored tooth prevented over 18 months for every three patients treated (difference in increment: -0.35; 95% CI: -0.65, -0.08). Source
3. It is cost effective
Over a long period of time it is also cost effective. Caries risk assessment saves the system and patient money over time. However, this does not mean the dentists lose money. Instead of spending money on things they don’t want to, patients opt to spend money on elective procedures.
The incremental cost per DMFT avoided at 2 years, 3 years, and lifetime was estimated to be $1287.07, $1148.91, and $1795.06, respectively. Source
4. CAMBRA has long term results
After 4 years, patients that went through a Caries Management System protocol had fewer caries than those who did not.
In practices where adherence to the Caries Management System protocols was maintained during the 4-year post-trial follow-up period, patients continued to benefit from a reduced risk of caries and, therefore, experienced lower needs for restorative treatment. Source
5. The CAMBRA Effect
It was found that there is an improved effect on patient health, even beyond what would be expected based on therapy BECAUSE the patient went through a caries risk assessment process.
These findings suggest a greater intervention effect carried through the combined action on multiple aspects of the caries process rather than through any single factor. In addition, a substantial portion of the total effect of the CAMBRA intervention may have operated through unanticipated or unmeasured pathways not included among the potential mediators studied. Source