April 2009
Volume 5, Issue 4

From the Editor

Gerard Kugel, DMD, MS, PhD

Dear Readers,

Before we get to the topic at hand this month, we have two exciting announcements to make.

First, in recognition of all of the valuable feedback we receive from you, we are inviting you to participate in our “Readers’ Choice” contest, where you the reader will choose the Feature topic for our October issue. The winning suggestion will win a FREE iPhone™!* Inside Dentistry is best known for its cover stories, which have presented topics as diverse and thought-provoking as access to care, the issues and dilemmas of setting a standard of care, and how to make the right choices in deciding between endodontics and implants. Add your choice to this diverse (and sometimes controversial) list by sending your suggestions for a Feature topic to: AEGIS Communications, LLC, 104 Pheasant Run, Suite 105, Newtown, PA 18940, by May 15, 2009. Please make sure your submission includes your full name, e-mail and home addresses, primary phone number(s), and a clear description of the topic you’d like to see featured.

Second, beginning with this issue, Inside Dentistry can be read in FLIP BOOK format on our Web site. FLIP BOOK is an exciting new digital edition of the journal that provides a virtual reading experience. Now you can read online the same way you read the journal, simply turning the pages. The new digital edition includes live links to advertiser information and many other great features you’ll want to experience. Visit www.insidedentistry.net to access each issue and sign up for e-mail alerts letting you know when each issue is posted. And, as always, you can also subscribe to receive the print issue by mail, review articles that have appeared in previous issues, and register to take FREE CE.

This month, Inside Dentistry takes a look at one of the most complex diseases in healthcare—dental caries. We’ve come a long way in just a few decades in understanding the mechanisms affecting the etiology of this disease and how it affects individuals in different ways. Whether in terms of biology, prevention, restorative interventions, or diagnosis and detection, there is a wealth of information associated with this far-reaching topic. While we broach the subjects, we acknowledge that we only scratch the surface. We encourage you to explore back issues of Inside Dentistry, as well as our sister publication—The Compendium—for more research pertaining to specific areas discussed in our cover feature.

Out with the Old, In with the New. As my colleagues suggest, it is time to recognize dental caries as a biofilm disease, one of the most complex diseases there is. As our profession increases its understanding of the caries disease process, new technologies for disease diagnosis, caries detection, and preventative therapeutics will continue to develop. Therefore, how we focus our efforts will change. We may find ourselves not looking for cavities that have already developed, but looking for suspicious lesions that might cavitate if we don’t intervene to remineralize, strengthen, and protect the tooth structure.

Embracing New Models. Although it’s hard to break free from what we’ve come to know and feel comfortable with, the paradigm has shifted from a drill-and-fill model to one of medical management. Addressing caries is no longer strictly a reparative model, but one that should focus on wellness. Collectively, dentists have the obligation and opportunity to promote preventive care in dentistry, one patient at a time. By addressing each individual patient’s risk based on their hygiene abilities, medical circumstances, diet, understanding of oral health importance, and bacterial loads, we can quickly intervene to help our patients maintain optimal oral health.

Providing a Standard of Care. The legal and ethical aspects of dentistry can be frightening, but the fact remains that the standard of care isn’t always about what is being provided in the neighboring practice, or by your colleagues. If it’s available to you, if you are aware of it and know—based on the evidence—it could be beneficial to your patients, then it’s the standard. Assessing your patients for caries based on their risk is such an approach. Today’s approaches to caries intervention and disease management require us to be noninvasive and conservative. As my colleagues demonstrate in our cover feature, caries risk assessment will be the foundation of quality dentistry for our patients.

We hope that you enjoy this issue and find that it enlightens your understanding of caries as a disease state and where our profession is headed in terms of its diagnosis, detection, prevention, and treatment. Please send us your feedback to letters@insidedentistry.net. Thank you for reading and for your continued support.

With warm regards,

Gerard Kugel, DMD, MS, PhD
Associate Dean for Research
Tufts University School of Dental Medicine

*Rules and Conditions: If we receive multiple entries suggesting the same winning topic choice by May 15, 2009, all of those entrants will be entered into a raffle with one winner randomly selected at the sole discretion of AEGIS management. The winner will be notified by e-mail by June 1, 2009 and their name will be announced in the July/August issue of Inside Dentistry. Readers are encouraged to submit multiple suggestions. Members of AEGIS Communications, LLC and the Inside Dentistry Editorial Board are not eligible to enter.

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