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- Patient Comments: Cavities - Treatment
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- What are cavities?
- What are microcavities?
- How does a cavity form?
- What risk factors contribute to tooth decay?
- What are the signs and symptoms of cavities?
- How are cavities diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for cavities?
- Treatment of cavities during pregnancy
- What is CAMBRA?
- What is the prognosis of a cavity?
Treatment of cavities during pregnancy
Hormonal and bacterial quantity changes during pregnancy put pregnant women at greater risk for gingivitis and periodontal disease. Therefore, it is very important that pregnant women continue to get regular dental cleanings during pregnancy. Pregnant women have generally been counseled to avoid elective dental treatment during pregnancy unless they are experiencing an emergency like pain or infection. In this case, the second trimester is the best time for treatment to keep the expectant mother as comfortable as possible. Local anesthetics and other materials used during dental treatment don't increase risk to the fetus, but untreated oral disease has been shown to lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes. If X-rays are necessary, a protective apron will be placed over the woman's stomach and thyroid. If antibiotics are necessary, tetracycline should be avoided because it will cause staining in the baby's developing teeth.
What is CAMBRA?
CAMBRA stands for caries management by risk assessment. It is a method for assessing a person's risk for developing dental cavities and making dental treatment decisions and recommendations based on the patient's caries risk. The dentist performing CAMBRA will perform tests for oral bacteria and take X-rays. He will then determine the patient's level of caries risk by analyzing caries history, current caries condition, dietary habits, hygiene habits, prescription medications, salivary flow, and medical conditions. Treatment will then be tailored to the patient based on managing the risk factors through behavioral, chemical, and minimally invasive procedures. No two cavities are the same because no two people are the same. Thus, diagnosis and treatment planning requires risk assessment in addition to caries detection.
What is the prognosis of a cavity?
Dental cavities are a preventable and treatable disease. By making simple changes in diet and hygiene, one can minimize the risk of developing caries. If a person has been diagnosed as being at high risk for dental cavities, the dentist may prescribe a prescription toothpaste or fluoride varnish to protect the restored teeth from getting recurrent caries and prevent new ones from forming. Consistent evaluation and follow-up with a licensed dentist combined with attentive oral hygiene will help a person affected by dental cavities to have a very favorable prognosis.
Medically reviewed by Kenneth Rotskoff, MD, DDS; Board Certified Dentistry, Oral/Maxillofacial Surgery
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"Tooth Decay." American Dental Association. <http://www.ada.org/3031.aspx?currentTab=1#jada>.
Brambilla, Eugenio, et al. "Caries prevention during pregnancy: results of a 30-month study." Journal of the American Dental Association 129.7 (1998): 871-877.
Diniz, Michele B., et al. "The performance of conventional and fluorescence-based methods for occlusal caries detection: an in vivo study with histologic validation." Journal of the American Dental Association 143.4 (2012): 339-350.
Michalowicz, Bryan S., et al. "Examining the safety of dental treatment in pregnant women." Journal of the American Dental Association 139.6 (2008): 685-695.
Zero, Domenick T., et al. "The biology, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dental caries: scientific advances in the United States." Journal of the American Dental Association 140.Suppl 1 (2009): 25S-34S.