Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the susceptibility of children to the future development of caries following comprehensive treatment for early childhood caries (ECC) under general anesthesia.
Methods: The patients selected for this retrospective study were identified by analyzing dental records of children receiving treatment at the Franciscan Children's Hospital & Rehabilitation Center, Boston, MA (FCH & RC). In total, 4,143 records were reviewed. Of these, ECC was diagnosed in 42 patients before their admission to the operating room. Thirty-one control children were selected randomly from the dental records reviewed at FCH & RC. The control group was initially caries-free. The caries status of the children diagnosed with ECC was evaluated and compared with the control group. Children in both groups were seen for recall at intervals of six to nine months over a two-year period. The carious lesions were recorded in two categories; new smooth surface caries (NSSC) and new pit and fissure caries (NPFC).
Results: Thirty-three of 42 (79%) ECC children compared to nine of 31 (29%) control children had detectable carious lesions at subsequent recall visits. Children with ECC demonstrated a mean number of 3.2 +/- 3.3 new carious lesions compared to a mean of only 0.8 +/- 1.6 carious lesions in the control group. These differences were statistically significant (t71 = 3.8; P < 0.001). In addition, of the 42 patients treated for ECC under general anesthesia, seven (17%) required retreatment under general anesthesia within two years following their initial full-mouth rehabilitation. The prevalence of NSSC in the ECC group was significantly higher than the control group (t71 = 3.5; P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Despite increased preventive measures implemented for children who experienced ECC, this study concluded that this group of children is still highly predisposed to greater caries incidence in later years. These findings strongly suggest that more aggressive preventive therapies may be required to prevent the future development of carious lesions in children who experienced ECC.