Comprehensive management of dental caries should involve the management of disease as well as the lesion. Current decision making process in cariology is influenced by numerous factors such as the size/ depth/ activity of the carious lesion and age/ the caries risk status of the patient. Treatment decisions should involve planning the non-operative/ preventive treatment for non-cavitated or early cavitated lesions and also formulating operative treatment for cavitated lesions. Apart from these two responsibilities, a clinician should also be knowledgeable enough to decide when not to interfere in the caries dynamics and how frequently to recall the patient for follow-ups. The non-operative treatment prescriptions vary in dose, intensity and mode of delivery according to the caries risk status. Minimal invasion and maximal conservation of tooth structure has become the essence of current operative treatments. This part of the series elaborates on the paradigm shift in the management of dental caries.
Keywords: Antimicrobials; CPP-ACP; caries vaccine; chlorhexidine; fissure sealant; fluoride; minimal intervention; nonoperative treatment; operative treatment; prevention; probiotic; remineralization; restoration; slow fluoride releasing device; treatment decision.