5 Steps to a Successful Children’s Caries Risk Assessment Appointment

Step 1

Through a short interview with the caregiver, the practitioner gathers information regarding the child’s specific risk factors for the disease. Risk factors for the disease include those risk factors already discussed for adults, but other risk factors specific to children are also assessed. At this time, if applicable, a bacterial screening test is also performed to assess the patient’s and the caregiver’s bacterial biofilm challenges.

Step 2

The practitioner then performs a prophylaxis cleaning of the child’s teeth and possibly demonstrates proper cleaning techniques for the caregiver.

Step 3

The dentist then performs a clinical examination. During the examination, the dentist looks for disease indicators such as current decay, white spot lesions, decalcifications of the enamel, or the presence of restorations indicating past caries experience.

Step 4

Based on the patient’s caries risk assessment, the ADA recommends that fluoride varnish be applied every 3 to 6 months to help prevent decay.[1]

Step 5

Based on the risk assessment and clinical examination, the caregiver and the dental professional work to determine mutually agreed-upon oral health goals for the child and the family. Ideally, one or two home management goals are established for reassessment at the next appointment to reduce the risk factors for dental disease and increase the protective factors.

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Sources
B. A. Dye, O. Arevalo, and C. M. Vargas, “Trends in Pediatric DentalCaries by Poverty Status in the United States, 1988–1997 and 1994–2004,” Int J Paediatric Dent 20, no. 2 (2010): 132–43.

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