Tempus fugit – time flies in modern technology. Back in 1996, when Dolly the sheep was being celebrated as the first cloned mammal ever to be created from an adult cell, the idea of cloning a human tooth wasn’t even a glimmer in a researcher’s eye. Today, scientists are experimenting with stem cells and such giddy concepts as 3-D polymer tissue engineering scaffolds in the race to develop the first successfully-cloned human tooth.
Cloned teeth may be a while in coming, but what if there was a way – today– to make tooth decay a thing of the past? Sound farfetched? Most of us would say yes. We tend to think of caries, or tooth decay, as an unfortunate but inevitable fact of life. We don’t usually view it as a complex disease yet it has all the attributes of one.
Tooth decay is an infection caused by specific bacteria in the mouth, Bacteria attach themselves to teeth, feed on sugars from food or drink you’ve consumed, and create acids. Small amounts of acid can be neutralized by saliva, a power house of minerals which can keep bacteria count to a minimum, and even repair early, minor damage to tooth enamel. When meals are frequent, however, sugars become abundant and bacteria multiply. They overpower your mouth’s defenses, producing ever larger quantities of acid as a by-product of digesting what is now their food. Eventually, acid takes over the environment in your mouth and begins to do real damage to your teeth. The result is a cavity, or two, or three, or more!
Leland Dental has now incorporated a system called CariFree, which diagnoses and treats risk factors for decay. This system signals a radical change in the way we view tooth decay. CariFree treats decay as an infectious disease that is not only curable but preventable. It strikes tooth decay proactively – and early, before it has had time to break down healthy tooth structure. CariFree marshals a complex assault on tooth decay. When used regularly, it helps establish a healthy balance between the bacterial acids and conditions that produce cavities, and the protective factors that prevent them.
The CariFree system of care is simple. As with any preventative protocol, it requires your commitment to a regular routine of maintaining and protecting your teeth. Wait a minute, you’re probably thinking, I already do that with brushing and flossing. True enough, those trusty mainstays of dental prevention can clean the surfaces of teeth, but neither process can neutralize acid or combat caries infection once it has gained control. Practiced consistently, CariFree can restore a healthy balance in the mouth, so that early-stage decay can be detected, and often healed by the mouth’s natural defenses – possibly eliminating the need for invasive restorations.
The team here at Leland Dental is delighted to announce that we are initiating this state-of-the-art protocol into our practice. CariFree can be easily incorporated into your regular schedule of cleaning and examinations. In addition to checking your teeth, gums and bite during the exam, we’ll add a ten-second swab test to determine the level of decay-causing bacteria in your mouth; and a brief questionnaire documenting the habits – good and bad – that will help measure your risk (low, moderate or high) for future decay. Then, we’ll develop a treatment plan tailored to the unique conditions of your mouth and teeth. If necessary, we’ll stabilize any current decay until we develop a healthy balance in which to proceed with restorations or elective procedures.
The standard of medicine is “First, do no harm.” CariFree advances prevention, a principle that has been a central goal of treatment at Leland Dental for 35 years. With the CariFree protocol we use risk assessment and caries management, early detection of tooth decay, and buttressing of the natural process of remineralization to minimize the need for drilling and filling. When restorations are necessary to treat active decay, we’ll utilize procedures that are as minimally invasive as possible to achieve the best long-term results. Our goal for the child born today is a lifetime free from tooth decay.
Call Leland Dental at 781-826-8395 or contact us online at LelandDental.com for more information on CariFree or to book an appointment