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Current Concepts in Preventive Dentistry (AGD 730)

Presenter: Original Author: Connie M. Kracher, PhD, MSD; Reviewed and Revised by: Lois Bell, CDA, CPFDA, CRFDA, MADAA

It is difficult to believe that preventive dentistry has only been in practice for over one hundred years in the United States. In those 100 years we have seen advances in our delivery of professional oral health care in all disciplines. 

However, despite these advances, dental caries remains the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults, even though it is largely preventable. Although caries has significantly decreased for most Americans over the past six decades, large disparities remain among some population groups. In addition, this downward trend has recently reversed for young children.The statistics have not radically changed since the last version of this course in that dental caries still affects more than 33% of U.S. children aged 2-5 years and approximately 50% of children 12-15 years old. One fourth of adults aged 65 and older are endentulous.

Oral and oropharyngeal cancers are the largest group of those cancers which fall into the head and neck cancer category. Common names for it includes such things as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, and throat cancer. Approximately 54,000 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer in 2021.1b The preventive topics presented in this course are important for the dental professional to know as they care for their patients. 


Original Author:  Connie M. Kracher, PhD, MSD This course was originally written by Connie Kracher, PhD, MSD. Some of the original content written by Ms. Kracher remains in this revised course. Ms. Kracher is Associate Professor of Dental Education, Chair of the Department of Dental Education and the Director of the Dental Assisting Program at Indiana University - Purdue University, Fort Wayne, IN.

Reviewed and Revised by:  Lois Bell, CDA, CPFDA, CRFDA, MADAA 

Lois Bell, CDA, CPFDA, CRFDA, MADAA has been a practicing dental assistant for over 40 years. During this time, she has worked in a variety of settings, including both large and small private practices, as well as in clinics for the U.S. Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. Ms. Bell earned CDA certification in 2003, followed by CPFDA certification in 2010 and CRFDA certification in 2013. She earned her ADAA Fellowship in 2009 and her ADAA Mastership in 2019. Ms. Bell is employed as a clinical dental assistant at the VA Greenville Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Greenville, South Carolina.

In addition to her chairside dental assisting work, Ms. Bell has been an active member of the ADAA at state and national levels since 1996. She served as ADAA secretary from 2012 to 2013, and is currently serving on the ADAA’s Committee on Fellowship and Mastership. Lectures and presentations include local organizations, the South Carolina Dental Association’s State Meeting and in various regions of China on 3 occasions.

Ms. Bell was elected to DANB’s Board of Directors in August 2016, finishing the second of a 3-year term. In 2017, she was elected as Secretary/Treasurer. DANB’s Board elected Ms. Bell from a slate of qualified nominees provided by the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA).


Upon completion of this course, the dental professional should be able to:

• Identify the two bacteria most often associated with dental caries.
• Define terms used in caries prediction.
• Describe the caries process.
• Explain the general approach of caries risk assessment.
• Identify newer technologies for caries detection.

• Determine the cause of each pathology.
• Identify the typical visual cues for each pathology.
• Recite useful clinical information for each pathology.
• Describe treatment for each pathology.
• Discuss the clinical significance of each pathology.
• Explain the recommended treatment plan for cancer patients.
• Define dental plaque.
• Explain the process of plaque formation.
• Discuss manual and powered toothbrushes.
• Describe the various toothbrushing techniques.
• Identify the correct toothbrushing technique for the individual patient.
• Describe the two flossing methods.
• Identify which patients require auxiliary aids.
• Identify multiple sources of fluoride.
• Determine on an individual basis if a patient needs a professional fluoride application.
• Differentiate between pre-eruptive and post-eruptive fluoride.
• Identify the three types of professional fluoride.
• Discuss the concept of fluoride uptake in enamel.
• Discuss root surface caries treatment options.
• Describe the application of fluoride.
• Discuss fluoride varnishes.
• Identify foods that are considered cariogenic.
• Identify foods that are considered to be non-or low-acidogenic.
• Discuss soda consumption in the United States.
• Identify the criteria for selecting teeth for sealant placement.
• Identify the two types of sealant material.
• List the four commandments for successful sealant retention.
• Describe the sealant procedure.
• Identify sports that should use mouthguards.
• Identify which types of jaw fractures are more common.
• Identify which type of crown and root fractures are more common.
• Describe the treatment necessary when an emergency occurs with primary teeth.
• List the types of soft tissue dental injuries that can occur with sports.
• Identify the types of mouthguards available. 


The ADAA has an obligation to disseminate knowledge in the field of dentistry.  Sponsorship of a continuing education program by the ADAA does not necessarily imply endorsement of a particular philosophy, product or technique.

The ADAA cautions participants taking this course on the hazards of using limited knowledge when integrating new techniques into their practices.  

Credits earned upon completion of the course may be used to meet DANB’s Recertification Requirements.


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