Detection activity assessment and diagnosis of dental caries lesions

Dent Clin North Am. 2010 Jul;54(3):479-93. doi: 10.1016/j.cden.2010.03.006.


This article reviews the current methods for detection and assessment of caries lesions focusing on applicability for daily clinical practice. The end point is to arrive at a diagnosis for each caries lesion. Visual inspection aided by a ball-ended probe is essential for caries lesions assessment and the method must be used for all patients. Use of indices, for example, the International Caries Detection and Assessment System (ICDAS), can improve the performance of this method. Using visual inspection, the clinician must decide about the presence, severity and activity of lesions. After this process, additional methods could aid the dentist in reaching a more appropriate treatment decision in some cases. The ICDAS, including the activity assessment system or the Nyvad system, seems to be the best option to reach final diagnoses for managing lesions. The radiographic method is the most recommended additional method available for daily clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DMF Index
  • Decision Trees*
  • Dental Caries / diagnosis*
  • Dental Caries / therapy
  • Dental Caries Activity Tests / instrumentation
  • Dental Caries Activity Tests / methods*
  • Dental Caries Activity Tests / trends
  • Dental Caries Susceptibility*
  • Humans
  • Risk Assessment / methods*