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Assessing Adherence to Provider's Recommendations in Caries Risk Assessment and Management: A Retrospective Data Review.

AIM: To evaluate the distribution of caries risk category of patients at a dental institution and determine adherence to providers' recommendations.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cross-sectional retrospective review of 1,235 patients records that included data collection on demographics, the sum of the number of decayed, missing due to caries, and filled teeth in the permanent teeth (DMFT), presence of frequent snacking, stimulated salivary flow rate, stimulated saliva pH, saliva buffering capacity, biofilm activity, caries risk category, anti-caries prescription accept/decline, and change in the caries risk category. Statistical analysis was carried out through Pearson's Chi-squared test and linear model ANOVA with a significance level of 0.05.

RESULTS: Pearson's Chi-squared test showed a statistically significant difference in frequency by risk category ( p < 0.001) indicating that patients were skewed toward high and extreme caries risk. Linear model ANOVA showed that higher risk categories were associated with lower salivary flow rates ( p = 0.010) and higher biofilm activity ( p < 0.001). About, 1 out of 3 patients were reported to have frequent snacking ( N = 391, 32%). Frequent snacking patients were more likely to present with higher caries risk assessment ( p < 0.001), younger age ( p < 0.001), and female ( p < 0.001). Despite recommendations from the dental student provider, only 27% accepted the anti-cavity prescriptions while 61% declined the recommendation.

CONCLUSION: Distribution of caries risk category is not evenly distributed, but rather skewed toward high and extreme caries risk levels. Despite the identified risks, there is low adherence to the recommendations provided by healthcare providers. The results underscore the necessity for targeted interventions and initiatives aimed at fostering behavioral changes to enhance oral health outcomes.

CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: There is a high need for targeted interventions and initiatives that promote behavioral changes to enhance oral health outcomes.

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