Dr. Stephen Abrams is a general practitioner in the Toronto area and was closely involved with the development of the CANARY System for the detection of caries.
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Science is evolving in two directions:
- How do you detect and measure the progression of a lesion?
- How do you treat the lesion?
Managing caries lesions is different than what it used to be 5 years ago. Consideration is given to:
- Risk factors.
- Home care and varying different products.
- Measuring the progression of lesions.
- Replacing the restorations placed to treat the damage resulting from the disease.
Engaging with patients is also different what it used to be 5 years ago:
- Patients are more knowledgeable and they want to know ‘Why things do or don’t work.’
- Information is readily available to patients on the internet.
- The practitioner’s duty is to educate patients about caries lesions.
Key factors in managing caries:
- Patient engagement through an understanding of the disease is and by providing them with a measure to show the progression of the caries lesions.
- The measuring tool should be linked to the disease process and should have quantifiable numbers that the patient could understand and identify with in learning about the progression of caries lesions.
- There needs to be a new partnership between the dentist and the patient to treat caries similar to the one happening when treating periodontal disease.
What CDA can do
- Provide the profession with knowledge on how to critically evaluate the literature
- Educate the public about what dentists do in treating oral health diseases.
- Set up a fee system that supports services that allow treating the disease early in its process.
- Message the importance of treating caries in the “dental home;” an environment in which the dentist becomes the supervisor and is actively engaged in the management of caries across its progression spectrum.
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