The 3 timeframes of treatment
I would like to address the concept of always looking at the patient in terms of their risk factors. In other words where is each individual patient at risk of losing teeth in the future.
So what I like to do is think of a patient’s treatment in 3 timeframes:
- What needs to be done now
- Where will the patient be in 10 years
- How do we get this patient to 90 years of age with as many of their own teeth as possible
90 years of age with as many of their own teeth as possible
To achieve long-term dental health we need to know whether the patient is low, medium, or high risk of dental disease. The most common dental diseases are tooth decay and gum disease.
Other factors that contribute to long-term dental health
It becomes very complex as we add in other factors that contribute to long-term dental health including:
- general health
- medications and the side-effects of these (often dry mouth, which increases decay)
- the patient’s lifestyle, diet and individual attitude towards prevention of dental disease
Making a commitment to our teeth
I appreciate the fact, and say to my patients, that their dental needs are not the only thing in life, and maybe not high on their priority list. However, I feel we should be committed to offer every patient all the information we can to help them through to a late age, with the least need for dental intervention.