Longitudinal Study of Questionable Occlusal Caries Lesions

Although the progression of cavitated dental caries has slowed dramatically over the years, the prevalence of precavitated lesions has significantly increased; therefore, diagnosing and following these lesions has become an important part of daily clinical practice. There has been some debate on the best way to manage and treat these small lesions long-term. Some clinicians believe it is best to perform operative treatment and conserve tooth structure; whereas, other clinicians believe in managing it with preventive treatment, allowing the lesion the potential to remineralize or arrest over time. Limited literature is available for these “questionable” lesions and the reasons behind why clinicians are having difficulty diagnosing and treating them.

The aims of this study are to (1a) for unopened questionable occlusal carious lesions, to test the hypothesis that the baseline clinical characteristics are significantly associated with change in caries status; and (1b) for opened questionable occlusal carious lesions, to test the hypothesis that the clinical characteristics at baseline are significantly associated with caries depth.

These aims will be met by performing a follow-up on the consecutive questionable occlusal carious lesions enrolled in “Prevalence of Occlusal Carious Lesions”. The study will record the status of these lesions, if treatment changed,and the condition of the restoration or sealant, if applicable.

This study about occlusal carious lesions will provide the opportunity to compare these results to “Assessment of Caries Diagnosis and Caries Treatment”, and “Prevalence of Occlusal Carious Lesions”.