Introduction

Dental caries, commonly known as tooth decay, is an oral disease in which the acid generated by specific types of unfriendly bacteria can cause damage to hard tooth structure. It is one of the most common infectious diseases among American children and adults, posing a serious public health issue. Assessment of the patient’s current caries activity and risk of future caries is an important part of dental practice. By identifying the many risk factors involved, more effective, individualized management of caries can be provided. Also, when patients are made aware of their risk of developing new caries or for the progression of existing lesions, this knowledge may encourage them to make healthful caries-reducing changes in their habits and take a more active role in their oral care.
Video 1. Why should a risk assessment for dental caries be conducted?
Risk assessment is an essential part of caries management. It should be done on every patient. It’s not only a way to assess the risk of future disease or advancement of current disease in a patient, but most importantly it’s a way of identifying what are the reasons why that patient is at risk, so that a preventive, tailored treatment plan to that particular patient needs is developed.