Tooth decay, known in the dental profession as caries, is caused by improper oral hygiene and poor eating habits. Certain foods increase the risk of cavity development, as does not brushing and flossing on a daily basis. Still many people are also susceptible to genetic predispositions. All in all, early detection is the key to preventing further damage and the possible risk of tooth loss. Until now, dentists have had to rely on their patients’ commitment to regular hygiene visits, as this would allow them to spot the early signs of cavity development and ask them about their oral health overall. Unfortunately, a majority of people don’t visit their dentist as often as they should, at least until the onset of caries becomes more severe and noticeable.
The CariScreen: Stopping Cavities in Their Tracks
The CariScreen is one tool that has aided greatly in the reduction of this problem, and has become a trusted tool in dental clinics everywhere. Rather than merely detecting whether caries is already occurring, the susceptibility test administered by the screening tool can tell a dentist the level of risk an individual patient has of potentially developing tooth decay. By performing a quick yet thorough scan of the bacterial load present on the surface of the teeth, the dentist can recommend a treatment plan and target certain regions more in depth to stop the condition from ever starting.
How Does the CariScreen Work?
The handheld device uses bioluminescence to basically illuminate the surface of the teeth and provide an accurate read of the present bacteria count. The test only takes approximately a minute and can be performed chair-side, eliminating the need to schedule a future appointment. Given the simplicity of the test, an increasing number of dentists have begun incorporating it into their routine check-up procedure.
All that is required is a small swab sample of the patient’s tooth. The swab will contain the bioluminescence agents that will subsequently cause a chemical reaction, one which the CariScreen is designed to measure on concise score scale. The test number will be anywhere from 0 to 9,999, with anything less than 1,500 being a sign of healthy teeth and low risk for caries. In addition to being instrumental for early detection, this tool can also help dentists track their patients’ risk of decay over the course of a recommended treatment plan. Subsequent tests that show lower numbers are indicative of improvement and vice versa.