Preventive oral health care is the cornerstone of good oral and overall health. At Advantage Dental+, we know this better than anyone.
In fact, at Advantage Dental+, we practice and promote Preventistry — our innovative, prevention-led approach to transforming the oral health system. This approach embraces prevention as a key component in increasing access to care, affordability and awareness to improve the oral health of all. But Preventistry isn’t just a buzzword — it’s a clinical care model that’s actionable in practice.
Much of preventive oral health care comes in the traditional forms of treatment: fluoride varnish, dental sealants, silver diamine fluoride (SDF) and wellness programs. While these methods are tried and true, we are always searching for new tools to address prevention, which is why over the last nine months, a new care solution and tooth decay treatment — Curodont — has been piloted in Advantage Dental+ practices in Oregon, Washington, Alabama, Massachusetts and Florida.
A New Method on How to Get Rid of Cavities
Curodont is the first non-invasive, gentle, drill-free regenerative tooth decay (cavity) treatment. Unlike other products currently used in the dental industry, Curodont effectively regenerates a tooth with a carious lesion (cavity) from the inside out. In layman’s terms, this means it can reverse the damage caused by a cavity and stop tooth decay in its tracks, answering the age-old question, “Can cavities go away?” The dentists using the product are seeing great success and happy patients.
“Curodont has been very helpful in treating the population I serve,” said Zach Adkins, DDS. “With my patient population, I see many infrequent visitors who don’t have reliable access to care, which in turn means lots of recurrent decay. Implementing Curodont into our treatment plan has allowed us to avoid drilling teeth and creating a filling patients have to keep up with for the rest of their life.”
Dr. Adkins has seen the power of Curodont firsthand. For one patient, who had white spot lesions across her front teeth, Curodont made a huge difference. As a result of the Curodont application, there was a big improvement in the health of her front teeth, and she didn’t have to have any fillings or any additional work done.
Dr. Adkins said, “My patients have responded to Curodont exceptionally well. It doesn’t taste bad, it doesn’t stain [teeth] and it doesn’t take long to apply. A patient’s dental anxiety is more manageable because we don’t have to drill their teeth. Overall, Curodont makes the whole experience easier.”
Benefits of Curodont
Products and preventive treatments such as Curodont aren’t just beneficial to patients, but to the healthcare industry as a whole. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are $136 billion in total annual costs related to dental care. And, when adults without dental coverage or the ability to afford care delay treatment until issues become severe or painful, their ER visits are significantly more expensive, costing an estimated $2.1 billion per year in the U.S.
We also know that a lack of preventive dental care contributes to a higher risk of other chronic health issues. Treating chronic conditions like asthma, heart disease, and diabetes, which can all be exacerbated by poor oral health, adds millions more in preventable healthcare costs to the system. The cost to care for these diseases contributes to growing national health expenditures in the U.S., above and beyond the $520 million Medicaid spends annually on dental emergency room visits. Preventive oral health care can help combat and reduce these costs.
Use of Curodont also frees up valuable and in-demand chair time. Being able to immediately apply the solution to an infected tooth’s surface that might otherwise require future drilling means other patients can access the care they need in a timelier fashion, and dentists can treat more patients in need of care.
“From a business perspective, using Curodont as a first line of defense for oral health care ailments has a positive financial impact,” said Sharity Ludwig, director of alternative care models at Advantage Dental+. “If we can avoid taking a drill to a tooth, we can keep the integrity of the tooth and avoid fillings, filling replacements, etc. — all of which helps to alleviate additional costs.”
Ludwig continued, saying, “Treatments like this can allow for improved access, decreased appointment time, decreased disease, and in turn improve utilization rates and business as a whole. It just goes to show that prevention-led care has a much bigger impact than what’s going on inside of a patient’s mouth.”
That’s why we’re always working to find new, innovative ways to provide care inside and outside of brick-and-mortar practices. Identifying, trialing and implementing different strategies and unique treatment plans — such as Curodont — can help ensure that preventive dental care can be used to provide better overall health outcomes for everyone.