What Is It?

cambraIntroduced into the dental mainstream in 2002, CAMBRA is a program designed to identify areas of risk, prevent and in some cases reverse cavities. CAMBRA stands for Caries Management By Risk Assessment. Through non-invasive saliva analysis we are able to identify areas of risk relating to your caries development and address areas of concern before surgical processes, like fillings and crowns, are necessary. In short, CAMBRA is an effective tool used in preventative dentistry.

How is it done?

CAMBRA consists of a series of saliva tests. First we have you chew a piece of wax for five minutes, stimulating saliva flow for sample collection. Next, we analyze the sample for consistency, pH level, buffering capacity and bacterial content. Finally, we review your results and prepare an individualized treatment plan to reduce your susceptibility to cavities. This process is non-invasive and pain free.

What does it test for?

Salivary Function

Saliva serves as an ion reservoir that maintains an oral environment rich in ions and acid buffers. Healthy saliva is capable of facilitating remineralization of teeth and antimicrobial activity. The more saliva you have, the more effectively your body can fight off cavities and recover from minor cavity lesions.

high phHigh pH

After you eat a meal, plaque begins braking down carbohydrates (sugar). A by product of this process is acid which causes the pH of your saliva to decrease. At a pH of 6.0 and lower demineralization of teeth occurs. The drop in pH occurs 2-3 minutes after a meal and can take anywhere between 15-20 minutes to return to normal. A healthy oral pH is between.

Buffering Capacity

One of the important ions found in saliva is bicarbonate. Bicarbonate is your salivas main buffer against acid. Plaque creates acid as a by product of breaking down carbohydrates (sugar) after you eat a meal. Your salivas buffering capacity is a measure of your bodys ability to neutralize these acids. If you have low buffering capacity acid is able to react with the surface of your teeth resulting in demineralization and creation of an ideal location for cavity formation. In order to reduce the chance of demineralization we recommend using a baking soda rinse several times a day. Baking soda contains the ion bicarbonate and will help neutralize acid.

Bacterial Content

bacterial contentBacterial analysis of saliva lets us identify the presence of cariogenic (cavity causing) bacteria in your mouth. If levels of bacteria are high, we recommend the use of an antibacterial mouth rinse, Perioguard, to reduce bacteria numbers. It is also recommended that Perioguard be used in conjunction with topical fluoride treatments, like MI Paste. Antibacterial treatment followed by fluoride application has been shown to promote remineralization and in some cases reverse early carious lesions.

Information on this patient fact sheet is derived from the October and November 2007 issues of the Journal of the California Dental Association and is subject to copyright. Used by permission.