Here’s a tip for people who might want to get their teeth and nails fixed before they leave the house: Get your dentist to visit them first.
A new study has found that patients who received dental treatment first at home had fewer cavities and were less likely to experience a recurrence.
Dr. Susan Pomeranz, a dentist in Denver, Colo., and her colleagues studied patients who had been treated at home by a team of more than a dozen dentists, including dental hygienists and dentists who were in the front line of caring for patients who were already in the hospital.
The patients were also given a variety of treatments, such as topical creams and laser treatments, which were then administered at home.
Dr Pomeranza’s team was particularly interested in how patients fared if they had to wait at home to receive a treatment that required them to stay in the operating room for a short period of time.
They found that the patients who underwent a procedure first at the home dentist were less inclined to have a recurrences of cavities.
In addition, patients who experienced a dental procedure first in the office were more likely to have their teeth fully restored, and those who had the procedure first on the home floor were less prone to have the problem again.
In their report, published online by the journal PLOS ONE, Dr Pomerz and her team conclude that “if you have an office visit and the dentist needs to visit you, you should schedule a visit to your home first.”
The research team also found that after the procedure, patients’ dental health improved, and their rates of dental infections declined.
The researchers noted that patients were treated more quickly and with fewer complications, and were more satisfied with their care.
However, Dr. Pomerantz noted that the study is not yet conclusive, and that other factors, such a person’s age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, should also be taken into account.
“We need to understand what are the effects of the surgery on dental health and satisfaction,” Dr Pomersanz said in a statement.
“For example, are patients more satisfied if the procedure is performed by a trained dental hypospecialist?
How long did patients have to wait before their dental care was available?”
Dr Pomersantz said the study should serve as a cautionary tale for those considering home dentistry, especially for younger people who may not have much experience with the process.
“The more you have to learn about this, the more you will need to take that into consideration,” she said.
Dr Sarah Hodge, an assistant professor of dentistry at the University of Arizona in Tucson, agreed.
“A lot of people think about this as a treatment option when they need to get teeth fixed, but that’s not necessarily the case,” Dr Hodge said.
“This research suggests that it’s a great time to visit a dentist if you’re looking for a quick fix, because they can give you a much better result than they might with a visit at home.”
Dr Pommersanz said that she and her research team had found no difference in the outcomes between home and office dentistry.
“They don’t have the same effect,” she explained.
“It’s really not something that people need to worry about.”
Dr Hodge noted that most people don’t experience a repeat of their cavities after a procedure, so the fact that home dentists were less willing to prescribe treatments in the home is a sign of their willingness to improve the patient’s experience.
She also said that a person who experiences a dental problem in the first place should take it seriously.
“It’s not a one-time thing,” Dr. Hodge explained.
“There’s a chance that it could recur, so it’s important to seek treatment.”