Root caries may occur in teeth with a lengthened clinical crown. These may be cases when there has been recession of the gingival tissue leading to exposure of the root surface, which is then colonized by microorganisms. The occurrence of root caries increases with age. The prevalence of root caries in the remaining dentition of patients 60 and older, and residents of homes for the elderly ranges, between 60 and 90 percent. These patients often take medication that reduces salivary flow (tranquilizers, antihypertensive and antihistamine drugs), which could further increase the caries risk.
The caries risk also rises if the number of Streptococcus mutans increases in the mouth. In these cases, routine oral hygiene measures, professional tooth cleaning and fluoridation do not adequately protect the teeth from damage. As a result, the doctor might prescribe a chlorhexidine oral rinse, which puts the responsibility on patients or their health care aides to ensure that the rinsing actually takes place. Some patients believe the rinse has an unpleasant taste and stains their teeth, which may further reduce patient compliance.
To eliminate these concerns, Ivoclar Vivadent released Cervitec Plus, a varnish that protects exposed root surfaces and controls bacteria. The clear varnish contains chlorhexidine and thymol and is professionally applied in the dental office to targeted areas for long-lasting protection. It doesn’t stain teeth or taste bad, and allows dentists to selectively control germs and reduce an important caries risk factor. Cervitec Plus also helps maintain the high quality of precision restorations. The ADA recommends application of a chlorhexidine/thymol varnish every three months to reduce the incidence of root caries.
For more information, visit ivoclarvivadent.com.