Diagnosis and management of dental caries
Objectives:Dental caries is a widespread chronic infectious disease, experienced by almost 80 percent of children by the age of 18 and over 90 percent of adults. Substantial variation exists in dentists' diagnoses of carious lesions as well as in the methods dentists use to prevent and manage carious lesions. In addition, new methods for identifying carious lesions are beginning to appear, and new approaches for the management of individual carious lesions and for the management of individuals deemed to be at elevated risk for experiencing carious lesions are emerging. A systematic review of the literature was conducted to address three related questions concerning the diagnosis and management of dental caries: (1) the performance (sensitivity, specificity) of currently available diagnostic methods for carious lesions, (2) the efficacy of approaches to the management of noncavitated, or initial carious lesions, and (3) the efficacy of preventive methods in individuals who have experienced or are expected to experience elevated incidence of carious lesions.