Caries development in a young population managed by a restrictive attitude to radiography and operative intervention: II. A study at the surface level

Dentomaxillofac Radiol. 2002 Jul;31(4):232-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.dmfr.4600705.


Objectives: To longitudinally assess the distribution of fillings and carious lesions in permanent posterior tooth surfaces, caries states fillings were made, and survival time of proximal lesions in different states in a young population managed by minimal operative treatment and a restrictive attitude to radiography.

Methods: Bitewing radiographs from age 6-20 in 285 patients were analysed. Proximal and occlusal surfaces were coded for caries depth and fillings. Start and end dates for different caries states in proximal surfaces were assigned and survival times in these states calculated by means of survival statistics.

Results: The frequency of carious/filled occlusal surfaces in the population increased from 6 to 19% and that of proximal surfaces from 1 to 26%. At age 19, 86% of the occlusal and 7% of the proximal surfaces affected by caries were filled. An overwhelming majority of unfilled carious proximal surfaces had enamel lesions only. Of all fillings, 81% were placed in surfaces with dentine lesions. The occlusal and proximal surfaces of the first molar and the distal surface of the second premolar accounted for most lesions and fillings among the 19-year-olds. The average survival time of lesions in the enamel was 8.0 years and in the outer half of the dentine 3.4 years when right-censored data were taken into account.

Conclusion: In a young population exposed to optimal levels of fluoride with a caries preventive programme, a restrictive attitude towards operative treatment can be combined with longer average intervals between radiographic examinations than those prescribed by current guidelines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Bicuspid / pathology
  • Child
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Caries / diagnostic imaging*
  • Dental Caries / epidemiology
  • Dental Caries / pathology*
  • Dental Enamel / pathology
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent / statistics & numerical data
  • Dentin / pathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Molar / pathology
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Practice Patterns, Dentists'
  • Prevalence
  • Radiography, Bitewing / psychology
  • Radiography, Bitewing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Sweden / epidemiology