What We Do: Cavity Prevention Program

The cavity prevention program is an advanced preventive program designed to eliminate tooth decay.

“Why do I keep getting cavities? I see the dentist regularly.”

For years dentistry treated tooth decay as a problem to be repaired. Often patients would get fillings done, only to return with more cavities the next time. We now see tooth decay as a disease, and cavities are a symptom. It is not enough to treat only the symptoms. We now try to identify and eliminate the disease, making cavities a thing of the past.

Steps in the Cavity Prevention Program:

Step 1. Testing:

We perform a cavity index rating (Link will open in a new window). This involves a score for various factors related to decay risk, such as plaque and oral hygiene, existing cavities, type and number of former cavities, diet issues, etc. We screen all our patients this way. This lets us tell whether existing borderline lesions could progress, or whether they happened in the past and are not active now.

New for 2007: We now have a special computerized cavity screening test that takes 15 seconds. This can help us see if the patient is still at risk for decay. See photo at left.

We base many of our decisions on the cavity risk, such as:

We test people with larger cavities once the cavities have been repaired, to make sure the decay has been stopped.

Step 2. Analysis and Reduction of Tooth Decay Risk:

“Billy brushes his teeth well. Why does he still get decay?” Many people believe that if they brush well, they shouldn’t get cavities. This is simply not true. We have seen many patients with good oral hygiene who get lots of decay ,and some with poor oral hygiene and no decay. Everybody has some plaque- decay is caused by plaque made up of harmful bacteria.  If a person tests at medium or high risk for decay, we then try to find the cause and eliminate it:

Once we believe we have found the cause of tooth decay and eliminated it, we will give the patient a follow-up saliva test after a few weeks.

Most patients are no longer at risk at this point, and will not need the next steps of the Cavity Prevention Program.

Step 3. Advanced Cavity Prevention:

“I’m doing everything I can, but I’m still getting tooth decay”

At this point, if a patient is still at risk, we proceed with the following treatments:

There is an extra strong 2-part rinse to “shock” the bad bacteria, which is used for 1 minute a day for 2 weeks. There is also a maintenance fluoride rinse that helps keep the bad bacteria down.

MI paste- this fluoride-free paste contains calcium and phosphorus derived from milk products which strengthen your teeth.  It is very good for sensitive teeth and patients that get many canker sores. It is made to apply with a finger or Q-tip before bed, and can be safely swallowed.

New for 2010: Treating these areas with Ozone first makes the healing faster and stronger.  Patients with multiple areas can have custom Ozone trays made up and have the whole mouth treated safely.

  • We can check for Vitamin Deficiency Some patients with high cavity rates may have a Vitamin D3 and K2 deficiency.
    Most of us in Canada are deficient in Vitamin D from October to April. You can get your levels tested by your MD. If you are low. We recommend 1000-2000IU Vitamin D3, as well as 30-60mcg Vitamin K2 daily, ideally in drops. You can re-test to see if it is sufficient.

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    You can download an article about the Cavity Prevention Program here

    A note about insurance: We feel that prevention is the most important and cost effective treatment that we offer.

    The Cavity Prevention Program is very advanced dentistry, and insurance companies do not always keep up with the latest techniques. They may not cover all parts of the Cavity Prevention Program. Unfortunately, they will often pay large amounts to have patients undergo repeated fillings, but will not fully cover elimination of the cause. If you like, we will be glad to submit an estimate to your insurance company to see in advance what portion of the Cavity Prevention Program costs they will help to cover.