Laguna Niguel residents can prevent tooth decay with the help of their dentist
What is decay?
This may seem like a rather simple question. Decay, cavities, and caries are all terms for the same thing, and it is something with which most people are very familiar. Unfortunately, many patients and dentists alike have been conditioned by an outdated way of thinking. A cavity is a hole in a tooth, and it needs to be filled in. This treatment model, known as the surgical or “drill and fill” approach, seems very simple and straightforward, but it does not address the most important questions. Why did the cavity form? Will more develop as soon as existing ones are treated?
These questions were the driving force behind the development of CAMBRA (CAries Management By Risk Assessment), also known as the medical treatment model. In reality, caries is an infectious disease born of bacterial imbalance. Noticeable cavities are a manifestation of that disease, just as a heart attack is a manifestation of coronary disease. You would not expect a physician to perform heart surgery and then send you on your way claiming the problem was resolved. You would expect appropriate medication, medical care, and instructions regarding changes to your habits and lifestyle, designed to reduce the risk of another heart attack. Similarly, today’s advanced dental care includes detecting and reducing caries risk factors.
Are you at risk?
“Brush, floss, and see a dentist regularly.” That is the very common, overly simple message that most people get. Many patients are surprised when they follow this advice and still get cavities. They have those cavities treated, and more develop. This happens because caries prevention is not that simple. Poor oral hygiene is a risk factor, but it is one of many, along with:
- Frequent consumption of sugary foods
- Medical conditions such as diabetes
- Medical treatments such as chemotherapy
- Xerostomia (dry mouth)
- Much more
As you can see, some of these factors, such as eating habits, are optional and can be eliminated or reduced. Others, such as medical conditions, are not so easily combated. Effective caries management involves a multi-faceted approach, combining various techniques to lower the risk, and customized dental care to monitor and control the inflexible risk factors.
Dr. Mark Cruz is dedicated to patient-centered care, incorporating the latest discoveries, techniques, and technology to keep you healthy. With a cooperative effort between you, your dental team, and your other healthcare providers, you can stop the cycle of recurring cavities. Call (949) 661-1006 to schedule your appointment today. We are located in Dana Point, proudly serving residents of many area communities including Laguna Niguel.