This publication describes the history of minimal intervention dentistry (MID) for managing dental caries and presents evidence for various carious lesion detection devices, for preventive measures, for restorative and non-restorative therapies as well as for repairing rather than replacing defective restorations. It is a follow-up to the FDI World Dental Federation publication on MID, of 2000. The dental profession currently is faced with an enormous task of how to manage the high burden of consequences of the caries process amongst the world population. If it is to manage carious lesion development and its progression, it should move away from the 'surgical' care approach and fully embrace the MID approach. The chance for MID to be successful is thought to be increased tremendously if dental caries is not considered an infectious but instead a behavioural disease with a bacterial component. Controlling the two main carious lesion development related behaviours, i.e. intake and frequency of fermentable sugars, to not more than five times daily and removing/disturbing dental plaque from all tooth surfaces using an effective fluoridated toothpaste twice daily, are the ingredients for reducing the burden of dental caries in many communities in the world. FDI's policy of reducing the need for restorative therapy by placing an even greater emphasis on caries prevention than is currently done, is therefore, worth pursuing.
© 2012 FDI World Dental Federation.