Randomized trial of partial vs. stepwise caries removal: 3-year follow-up

J Dent Res. 2012 Nov;91(11):1026-31. doi: 10.1177/0022034512460403. Epub 2012 Sep 14.


This randomized, multicenter clinical trial evaluated the effectiveness of 2 treatments for deep caries lesions - partial caries removal (PCR) and stepwise excavation (SW) - with respect to the primary outcome of pulp vitality for a 3-year follow-up period. Inclusion criteria were as follows: patients with permanent molars presenting deep caries lesions (lesion affecting ≥ 1/2 of the dentin on radiographic examination), positive response to a cold test, absence of spontaneous pain, negative sensitivity to percussion, and absence of periapical lesions (radiographic examination). Teeth randomly assigned to PCR (test) received incomplete caries removal and filling in a single session. Outcome success was evaluated by assessment of pulp vitality, determined by pulp sensitivity to a cold test and the absence of periapical lesions. Data were analyzed by a Weibull regression model with shared frailty term (survival analysis). At baseline, 299 treatments were executed: PCR, 152 and SW, 147. By the end of the 3-year follow-up period, 213 teeth had been evaluated. Adjusted survival rates were 91% for PCR and 69% for SW (p = 0.004). These results suggest that there is no need to re-open a cavity and perform a second excavation for pulp vitality to be preserved (Clinical trials registration NCT00887952).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asymptomatic Diseases
  • Child
  • Dental Caries / therapy*
  • Dental Cavity Preparation / methods*
  • Dental Pulp / physiology
  • Dental Restoration, Permanent / methods*
  • Dentin / pathology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molar / pathology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Survival Analysis
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00887952