Section 2 - Risk Assessment / 2.1 ACORN & Assessing Risk

Dental practices in Wales are required to complete an ACORN (Assessment of Clinical Oral Risks and Needs) for their patients once a year as part of the overall patient assessment.

The ACORN is a risk assessment toolkit which includes various components that should be recorded as part of a good Oral Health Assessment.

ACORN's are vital for effectively communicating the level of risk and need to patients (or their carers). They're also helpful for working with patients in helping them to understand changes they can make to prevent dental diseases and maintain oral health.

The objective of an ACORN is to summarise the risk (modifiable and non-modifiable) and needs of individual patients following a detailed assessment of various oral health factors. There are eight key points that must be assessed in ACORN. These are:

• Medical History
• Social History
• Dental History
• Tooth decay
• Total number of teeth in the mouth
• Total number of teeth with dentinal decay
• Periodontal Health
• Other dental need

The findings of the ACORN help inform the formulation of an annual care plan for that patient. The care plan is discussed, agreed and shared with the patient and combines evidence-based prevention and care, but also includes what patients are required to do. A further ACORN completed and reported a year later effectively monitors the impact and outcome of care that patient has received.