Caries prevention is better than cure

caries in a tooth at dentistsIn spite of miracle cures, caries it would appear is with us for the foreseeable future, says John Rhodes.

Prevention better than cure?

There was an article in the press recently stating dental fillings would soon be a thing of the past. Scientists have invented a way of growing tooth enamel from calcium phosphate.

This is not the first time we’ve found a miracle cure for dental cavities. But dental caries can be preventable with simple interventions. Diets containing far too much sugar and poor oral hygiene are obviously a significant problem. But this is not just the domain of those unable or unwilling to apply preventative measures. Even elite athletes whom you may assume to be super-healthy were found to have a high incidence of oral disease in a study at the Eastman, London. This is partly attributed to their reliance on a high intake of carbohydrates. So caries it would appear is with us for the foreseeable future.

Prevention and biologically-based minimal interventions have to be the goal and endodontists have an important role to play. The definition of endodontology is after all: the branch of dentistry that specialises in dealing with the cause, diagnoses, prevention and treatment of diseases of the dental pulp. We are in the business of saving teeth, an extremely valuable asset. No man-made material can provide better long-term function to natural tooth substance.

Getting it right the first time

The success rate for root canal treatment once a radiolucent area is visible on radiograph (or CBCT) is approximately 10% lower than when none is visible. This is shown almost universally in the endodontic literature. The case for completing high quality endodontic treatment in teeth…

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