Objectives: These were to assess whether ART restorations and sealants could be provided to children in a school environment in China, to assess patient acceptability of the ART approach, and to evaluate on a longitudinal basis the treatments performed.
Methods: This study was conducted in Deyang, Sichuan Province, in western China. A total of 294 ART restorations were placed in 197 children and 191 fissure sealants were placed in 140 children by five middle-level dentists in four secondary schools. Standard instruments and procedures for ART were used. The restorative material used was a high-strength glass-ionomer (Ketac-Molar, ESPE). The treatments were evaluated annually after placement by the same examiner who had not been involved in the placement of the restorations nor sealants using explorers and mouth-mirrors. At the 3-year examination an independent external examiner evaluated the restorations using USPHS criteria.
Results: Most of the children did not report discomfort during treatment and 92% were willing to receive ART restorations again. The cumulative 1-year and 3-year survival rates of small Class I restorations were 99% and 92% respectively. The corresponding figures for large Class I restorations were 90% and 77%. After 3 years, 72% of the sealants were either partially or completely retained. Only 2% of the sealed teeth developed fissure caries and these involved teeth where the sealants had been lost. Similar success rates were found using USPHS criteria.
Conclusions: The ART approach for preventing and treating tooth decay in Chinese school children was shown to be appropriate, effective and acceptable. The 3-year survival rates of the restorations were high but were related to the size and type of the restoration.