Dr. Crist of Crist Dental Now Offers Patients a New Model for Health and Prevention

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A new bacterial screening test allows dentists to predict a patient’s future risk for developing cavities.

Dr. Crist

With this simple swab and a questionnaire we can determine what custom treatment plan is best for our patients. It’s so easy!

According to the CDC, dental caries (cavities) are at epidemic levels in the United States; although it is largely preventable, it remains the most common chronic disease of children aged 5-17 years (4 times more common than asthma). Frustration for both patients and dental professionals regarding this disease is at an all-time high. Dr. Crist and his team were tired of drilling and filling patients' decay only to find them back in the chair months later with both recurrent decay and new areas of mineral loss. Dr. Crist knew it was time for something different.

Dr. Crist and his team are now proud to offer the only in-office, chair-side caries susceptibility screening test on the market. Developed by CariFree, a caries research company, the CariScreen Test measures the levels of cavity-causing bacteria in the biofilm in seconds. Dr. Crist states: "The CariScreen is a simple, 10-second swab test that gives us an accurate reading of bacteria levels. With this simple swab and a questionnaire we can determine what custom treatment plan is best for our patients. It’s so easy!" The CariScreen Test allows Dr. Crist a real-time assessment of the bacterial activity in a patient’s mouth, which then informs both restorative and long term oral health recommendations.

The process of decay formation has been widely misunderstood by the general public, and treatment recommendations oversimplified. Many have heard the same "brush, floss and avoid sugar" prescription for years, and despite their best attempts, still develop the disease. Dental caries is a transmissible bacterial infection of the teeth, and while home care and diet are key players in its development, the key factor affecting a patient's health or disease comes down to the pH of the oral environment. Prolonged periods of low pH in the mouth provide the biologic oral environment that selects for growth of cavity causing bacteria. Because the bacteria in an infected mouth produce an abundance of acid, the healthy bacteria are no longer able to survive. This is what ultimately leads to net mineral loss and breakdown of the tooth structure.

With the implementation of the CariScreen Test, Dr. Crist has the capacity to inform his patients what the statistical likelihood is that they will develop new decay in the next year. It is a holistic approach that not only looks at a patient’s brushing habits and current cavities, but also his or her medications, diet, daily eating habits, overall health as well as the bacterial makeup of your mouth. All these things contribute to a person’s risk for dental decay.

With new information about the complexity of dental caries, the old model of brush, floss and avoid sugar is no longer relevant. The CariScreen Test in the hands of Dr. Crist and his/her team is the new model for oral health and prevention.

For more information on the CariFree system, go to http://www.carifree.com. To call now and make your appointment with Dr. Crist and his team call 406-761-2151.

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Laura Moriarity
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