Caries (tooth decay) is the disease that causes cavities. It is now possible to accurately identify if you are ‘at risk’ of developing caries. You can then prevent cavities from forming.
We start by taking a simple swab of the biofilm on you front teeth. If you are found to be ‘at risk’ then one of our hygienists will spend some time with you and discover why you are ‘at risk’. She will then prescribe necessary mouthwashes, toothpastes, diet advice and support so that you may never have a cavity again.
You can control gum disease too.
Gum disease is the largest world-wide cause of loss of teeth. Although we find that our dentists have been so successful over the last 25 years at preventing gum disease, we rarely find it necessary to remove natural teeth and fit false teeth.
By working with you as a team our success with gum disease (periodontal disease) has now spurred us on to work with you and tackle caries. We believe we will be just as successful.
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Carifree is a new diagnosis and treatment tool that allows us to better anticipate your likelihood of getting caries and hopefully prevent them, and the need for fillings. Pictured below are some of the products in the range which we offer:
or watch this quick video….
Carifree has been developed in America and we are one of fifteen dentists offering this treatment in the UK. We have decided to introduce it because we sometimes see patients who have very good oral hygiene, they visit us on a regular basis, they eat the right foods and they follow our advice, and yet they still develop dental caries. We find it very frustrating that patients with otherwise brilliant oral hygiene end up having to have fillings – and finally we feel that we might have found the answer! If you are one of those patients who develop cavities regularly for no apparent reason, then maybe you need to come to us for a Carifree risk assessment!
This assessment and screening provides us with valuable information that we can use to practice minimal invasive dentistry. It also reduces your cost and time spent in the dental chair. We think it is a win-win situation!
What are cavities caused by?
Cavities are the holes (or demineralised areas) that form in teeth as a result of a bacterial infection on your teeth called dental caries. Dental Caries starts with an infection of the ‘biofilm’ that covers the teeth –this infection takes place when the normal healthy bacteria in the mouth are replaced by acid-producing bacteria. This shift in bacteria is primarily caused by a prolonged acidic (low PH) oral environment: contributing factors include a lack of saliva, some medications or medical conditions and/or a sugary/acidic diet that favours acid-producing bacteria.
Drilling and filling has been the traditional method of treating cavities, but it doesn’t treat the bacterial infection, just the symptoms. Brushing and flossing has been the traditional method of prevention, but it does not change the pH (acidity) of the oral environment or treat the infection once it exists.
So, how does CariFree work?
CariFree is a complete system of products that alters the structure of the biofilm and therefore limits the disease responsible for carious lesions.
Treating the biofilm infection involves eliminating the current infected population of bacteria from the biofilm, and then altering the environment to ensure that they don’t return. CariFree is a therapy that will promote the regrowth of healthy bacteria, re-establishing the natural microflora of the mouth.
Broad spectrum antimicrobial agents are used to treat the infection, and then alkaline products are used to change the PH of the mouth and ensure cariogenic bacteria cannot flourish – in fact CariFree will promote the growth of healthy bacteria so enabling the mouth to fight off tooth decay more effectively.
Fluoride can also be helpful in remineralizing white spot lesions and the incipient decay that may have resulted from the infection.
So how do I get CariFree?
If we think you are at risk of having or developing ‘caries infection’ we offer our patients an initial complimentary test. Your dentist will complete an evaluation form and undertake a swab test.
Is the test painful?
Absolutely not! The CariFree test is a simple screening device (pictured above) which uses a swab sample of your plaque in order to measure the levels of bad bacteria on your teeth. The test is painless, takes less than one minute, and will help us to make a diagnosis as to whether you have acidic biofilm or not. Cavities are known to be caused by this acid biofilm infection. A screening test is part of an overall Caries Risk Assessment we will perform.
We can then make preventive recommendations, with the goal of lowering your risk of decay, and ensuring a longer life for the dental work you have already invested in and may opt for in the future.
What treatment will I need if I have a bad test result?
If your dentist feels you are at risk from dental caries, then he or she will evaluate what factors are contributing to you getting cavities, and then offer treatment through use of specific CariFree products.
We will provide homecare recommendations, dietary counseling, re-mineralization for cavities that have just started, and treatment of biofilm infection. All this with the goal of lowering your incidence of tooth decay, and creating more predictable results for the future.
Please be assured that Carifree is a programme that is suitable for all, and it includes products for both children and adults that treat and prevent the infection lowering the risk of future decay. All CariFree products combine the proven benefits of flouride and xylitol along with proprietary neutralizing pH+ technology.
If you have cavities, or have had them recently, you can purchase kit to treat the caries infection at home. This kit includes all the products you need to initiate a 3 month treatment plan that will kill the caries infection and then allow the biofilm to repopulate while supporting the regrowth of healthy, non-acid-producing strains of bacteria.
We also advise that you:
- Limit not only sugary/carbohydrate containing items in your diet, but also even non-sugar containing acidic beverages such as diet soda, coffee, tea, sparkling water, alcohol.
- Consider the acidity/pH of the dental products you are using. Do they neutralize your mouth? Know your pH. Don’t just brush and floss. . . neutralize!
- Understand that fluoride is still important, but is used to primarily remineralize your enamel and make it stronger. Fluoride can help treat the symptoms (cavities), but fluoride’s effectiveness at stopping the bacterial infection has limits.
- Xylitol has been shown to make fluoride more effective and is a very effective agent for limiting the acids produced by bacteria and comes in a variety of gums, mints, rinses and toothpastes etc.
After the initial 3 month treatment course, we advise that you start the maintenance programme for which we provide a further kit.
Patients can also purchase a maintenance/prevention kit, with 3-month supply of products designed to prevent the infection that causes cavities. This kit features the CariFree daily anti-cavity, pH elevated fluoride and xylitol-rich Maintenance Rinse. A non-abrasive, pH elevated xylitol-rich Oral Neutralizer Gel is also included, along with a sample of Sugarfree Xylitol Gum.