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Caries Risk Assessment - What's the big deal?

May 4th, 2017

What is the Caries Risk Assessment Tool?

The Caries Risk Assessment Tool is a research-based tool used to identify the risk factors that cause dental decay. It is also used to provide recommendations to reduce the risk of future cavities.  It has been well documented that dental decay affects children throughout their childhood and into their early adulthood.  The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that there has been a significant increase in dental decay in primary (baby) teeth.  This study further revealed that in U.S. children ages 2-5, one in four had dental decay.  Moreover, one half of children ages 12-15 had dental decay.

Why is this needed?

Instead of just filling cavities, this new method helps identify the cavity-forming risk factors and then provides guidelines to prevent future dental cavities.  The old method of just treating dental decay did not address the root factors that cause dental decay.  Several years ago, leading dental experts, ranging from educators, clinicians, and policy makers, converged to create the Caries Risk Assessment tool. Using the Caries Risk Assessment is a new paradigm shift that helps health care providers and educators provide specific recommendations to decrease the risk of getting dental caries.

What are the categories?

There are 3 risk categories:  High, Moderate, and Low

For each category there are recommendations based on the child’s age.

Some common recommendations include: nutrition changes, use of fluoride supplements, sealants, and more frequent cleaning and checkups.

Still need more information?

For additional information you may contact these organizations:

I've got it, what should I expect at my child's next dental visit?

At your child's next dental checkup visit, you will be asked a few questions that will help determine your child's risk for dental decay.  These responses will be used along with the information Dr. Allen Job gather's during your child's examination to determine your child's risk for dental decay.  Dr. Job and his team will be review that information with you at the end of the appointment.

How often will the Caries Risk Assessment be performed?

The Caries Risk Assessment will be performed each time at you're child's checkup appointment.  This is an ongoing process.   Our goal at All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry is to prevent dental decay from starting in your child.  This involves providing you with easy ways to prevent dental decay. Our secondary goal is to convert Moderate and High Risk patients into Low Risk patients.

Contact our office, All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry to schedule an appointment with Dr. Allen Job.  Dr. Job and his team will be able to provide you with more information for your child at his or her visit.

Dr. Allen Job, DDS, MS, MPH, MS is a board certified pediatric dentist who practices in San Diego, California, where he specializes in prevention.  He is also an assistant professor at Loma Linda University Department of Pediatric Dentistry.