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Santa Teresa Dental Gets to Root of Problems by Asking Questions

Posted under Morgan Hill Dental News on May 27th, 2014 | No Comments
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New Questionnaire Becomes Part of Personalized Treatment

MORGAN HILL, CA (May 27, 2014) – Santa Teresa Dental is taking another step toward making dental visits less stressful and more informative by adding another tool to their practice. It’s a simple questionnaire.

“Risk assessment methodology in dentistry is much like a physician who assess risk for heart disease based on tests like blood pressure and cholesterol count, and risk factors such as heredity, age, sex, weight, and many other factors,” said Doctor Andrew Huang. “Similarly, dentists perform tests for oral bacteria levels and x-rays, but we’ve added a questionnaire for dietary habits, current prescription medications, medical conditions, oral hygiene habits and more.”

The questionnaire is called Caries (cavity) Management by Risk Assessment, or CAMBRA, and is a method for assessing cavity risk and making treatment and restoration recommendations based on the patient’s cavity risk.

“We’ve always asked these questions, but the questionnaire delves a little deeper and gives the patient time think about the answer,” said Dr. Huang. “We find that we’re getting better information this way instead of patients just telling us what we want to hear.”

CAMBRA represents a paradigm shift in dentistry because it’s a more comprehensive approach. It considers factors beyond teeth and gums, such as diet and medications taken for other health issues.

The information gained from the questionnaire then lays the groundwork for the patient’s long-term treatment plan. Knowing the cause of recurring tooth decay, whether it’s poor flossing and brushing or a current medication with a side effect of reducing healthy saliva, helps to develop an individualized treatment plan.

Additionally, taking this long-term approach allows the dentist to treat decay before major dental work is performed, thus making it more successful, less stressful and less expensive overall.

“High risk patients are more likely to have expensive dental work fail due to decay,” said Dr. Huang. “With this approach we can get the decay under control before treating the major problem. Then the procedure is more successful and less costly for the patient in the long run.”

Based on the results of the questionnaire, the dentist manages the risk factors through specific treatment such as sealants, antibacterials, fluoride and dietary adjustments. Managing the risk factors early, hopefully reduces the need for drills and needles later.

Many studies have shown that using the CAMBRA method has proven to reduce decay rates, which reduces major dental work.