Objective: This study aims to assess the caries experience among first- and second-grade children in the elementary schools of southeastern Estonia.
Materials and methods: A representative sample of 485 children was studied. The mean age of children in the first grade was 7.8 years (SD = 0.35) and in the second grade 8.8 years (0.38). The clinical examinations using ICDAS criteria were completed by four calibrated examiners. The inter- and intra-examiner consistency of the examiners was high (surface and tooth-based kappa >0.9).
Results: The mean caries experience of dentinal caries lesions was 0.8 (D 4-6 MFT) and 1.6 (D 4-6 MFS) among the first graders and 1.1 (D 4-6 MFT) and 1.6 (D 4-6 MFS) among the second graders. The mean caries enamel lesions among the first graders was 1.6 (D1-3T) and 2.2 (D1-3S) and among the second graders 2.1 and 3.0, respectively. The most affected surfaces were the occlusal surfaces of the lower first molars. The prevalence of sealants was very low-only 2.4% of the first molars were sealed among the first graders and 3.9% among the second graders. There were no statistically significant differences in caries experience or in the provision of restorative treatment between the schools.
Conclusions: Caries experience is high in southeastern Estonia. Preventive programs are urgently needed.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01062633.