Why do you need to use a caries risk assessment protocol to provide an effective caries preventive regime?

Afuakwah, Charles and Welbury, Richard orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-9322-2440 (2015) Why do you need to use a caries risk assessment protocol to provide an effective caries preventive regime? Primary Dental Journal, 4 (4). pp. 56-66. ISSN 2050-1684

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1308/205016815816682155


Background: Clinical guidelines recommend an individual is given a caries risk status based on analysis of defined clinical and social criteria before implementing a tailored preventive plan.

Aims: Improve documentation of caries risk assessment (CRA) in a general dental practice setting, using a systems-based approach to quality improvement methods. Investigate the impact of quality improvement efforts on subsequent design and delivery of preventive care. Identify barriers to delivery of CRA and provision of preventive care.

Design: Data for patients aged 0-16 years was collected over two cycles using standard audit methodology. The first cycle was a retrospective analysis (n=400) using random sampling. The second cycle a prospective analysis (n=513) using consecutive sampling over a 15-week period. Five staff meetings with feedback occurred between cycles.

Results: In cycle one, no specific CRA system was identified. CRA status was not stated widely, risk factors were not analysed and there was variation with respect to the prescription and delivery of preventive strategies. These discrepancies were demonstrable for all four participating dentists and at all ages. In cycle two, 100% recorded CRA. All risk factors were analysed and individual caries risk was correctly annotated. There was 100% compliance with the protocol for preventive plans.

Conclusions: The use of CRA improved documentation of caries risk status. This has improved subsequent prescription of age specific evidence-based preventive care appropriate to the risk status of that individual. Barriers were identified to the delivery of CRA and the provision of comprehensive preventive care by the dentists and other healthcare professionals.

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