Dental Tribune Europe

The need for preventive care in dental practices

Though our understanding of preventive oral care has increased dramatically in recent decades, there are still large sections of the population who are disproportionately burdened with oral disease. In an upcoming webinar on Thursday, 14 May, Dr Ivana Radovic will discuss various preventive measures that can be used in clinical practice, along with the scientific evidence supporting them. Prior to the webinar, Radovic discussed the importance of preventive care with Dental Tribune International.

Dr Ivana Radovic is an associate professor at the University of Belgrade's School of Dental Medicine in Serbia. (Image: Ivana Radovic)

Dr Radovic, considering all that we now know about the importance of prevention for maintaining good oral health, what do you think are the main barriers for patients?
In my opinion, the two main barriers are low socio-economic status and patients’ lack of oral health literacy. These two factors are usually intertwined and may explain the overall disparities in oral health across the globe. Another barrier is the general focus of dentistry on intervention once disease is present, rather than on disease prevention.

How important is it to develop individual preventive care routines for each patient?
Individual preventive care routines are very important. Only after we understand the individual needs of our patients can we give them sound advice that is reasonable and realistic for them to follow in their everyday lives. Of course, individual preventive plans must rely on proven strategies and contemporary guidelines, but these can and should be tailored by a dental professional, taking into account patients’ risks as well as their specific needs. Another benefit of investing time and effort into the creation of individual plans is the establishment of rewarding and trusting relationships with patients.

What role should the patient play in oral disease prevention?
The role of the patient is of the utmost importance because the primary responsibility for maintaining oral health should lie with the individual, or with the parents or caregivers when it comes to children. Nevertheless, patients’ self-care is not an independent entity, but activities that need to be continually supported by professional guidance and education as well as by professional monitoring and intervention when needed. It is known that self-care works best in patients who are oral health literate and require dentition that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

What can participants gain from attending your webinar?
It is my intention to provide participants with some fresh motivation and inspiration for the creation of preventive plans for their patients, based on confidence in scientific evidence. Various preventive measures, from birth to adulthood, will be discussed from the point of view of common clinical practice as well as from the point of view of the scientific evidence that we have to support these measures. Also, the modification of preventive measures that can be applied in high-carious-risk patients will be discussed.

Editorial note: The 1-hour webinar, titled “Everyday preventive care—our habits vs. proven principles”, will be presented live on Thursday, 14 May, at 1 p.m. CEST. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions about the topic as well as earn a continuing education credit by answering a questionnaire after the lecture. Registration on the Ivoclar Vivadent Academy website is free of charge.

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