Are you practicing excellent clinical standards by providing your patients with the best care possible? As dental professionals we should all be practicing to the standard of care while striving to go over and beyond it. The definition of the standard of care is typically identified by the level at which the average, prudent provider in a given community would practice and is how similarly qualified practitioners would have managed a patient's care under the same or similar circumstances.
The ADA says fluoride varnish applied in the office along with a prescription 5,000ppm used twice a day should be recommended for all patients that are moderate to high risk for dental caries. If you look at the ADA qualifications for a moderate and high-risk patient, you will see that it encompasses almost all of our patients. Are you dispensing fluoride to the standard of care?
When we place a ‘watch’ on an incipient lesion, essentially, we are just watching it decay. Instead of placing a ‘watch’ on an incipient lesion we should be recommending an in-office varnish and prescription 5,000ppm toothpaste to be used twice a day in order to heal these areas. Patients with 1mm or more of recession are also considered high risk, so all of our perio patients should be on a fluoride regimen. This is the first time in dentistry that we actually have healing agents that will also prevent future decay. Share this exciting news with your patients!
Being an excellent clinician requires that we be very honest with our patients and educate them about the healing benefits of a fluoride regimen. When we are honest with our patients it is very easy to help them to understand why a fluoride regimen is so important and get them to accept usage. Ask your patients if they’d like to have their teeth for chewing for the rest of their lives or if they’d like to outlive their teeth or have their teeth outlive them.
I promise they’ll all say they’d like to have their teeth outlive them. Explain to your patients that decay does not heal itself but by having a fluoride varnish treatment along with brushing twice a day with a prescription 5,000ppm toothpaste they can actually heal and strengthen their teeth helping them to prevent further decay. Your patients will feel that you are truly concerned about them and the health of their teeth and you will be giving excellent care.