Patient caries risk assessment

Monogr Oral Sci. 2009;21:91-101. doi: 10.1159/000224214. Epub 2009 Jun 3.


Risk assessment is an essential component in the decision-making process for the correct prevention and management of dental caries. Multiple risk factors and indicators have been proposed as targets in the assessment of risk of future disease, varying sometimes based on the age group at which they are targeted. Multiple reviews and systematic reviews are available in the literature on this topic. This chapter focusses primarily on results of reviews based on longitudinal studies required to establish the accuracy of caries risk assessment. These findings demonstrate that there is a strong body of evidence to support that caries experience is still, unfortunately, the single best predictor for future caries development. In young children, prediction models which include a variety of risk factors seem to increase the accuracy of the prediction, while the usefulness of additional risk factors for prediction purposes, as measured until now in the literature, is at best questionable in schoolchildren, adolescents and adults. That is not to say these additional factors should not be assessed to help understand the strength of their associations with the disease experience in a particular patient, and aid in the development of an individualized and targeted preventive and management plan.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DMF Index
  • Dental Caries / prevention & control*
  • Dental Caries / therapy
  • Dental Caries Susceptibility*
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors