Context: The survival of atraumatic restorative treatment (ART) restorations would probably increase if near total elimination of cariogenic microorganisms could be done in the process of cavity cleaning before going ahead with the restoration. Thus, use of naturally occurring disinfecting agents for achieving this goal could herald a new beginning in the field of contemporary minimum intervention dentistry.
Aims: To evaluate the efficacy of hand instruments in excavating dental caries and comparatively evaluate the roles of Aloe vera and propolis as potential cavity disinfecting agents after minimally invasive hand excavation of dental caries.
Settings and designs: Experimental, in vivo intergroup split mouth, randomized clinical trial.
Subjects and methods: The study included Group I (Control), Group II (A. vera) and Group III (propolis). Ten patients with three teeth each have occlusal/occlusoproximal lesions suitable for ART were selected. Dentinal samples were collected three times from each tooth viz., preexcavation, postexcavation and postdisinfection of the cavities. These dentinal samples were subjected to microbiological analyses for total viable count.
Statistical analysis used: Repeated measures of analysis of variance (ANOVA) with Bonferroni post-hoc test and one-way ANOVA with Tukey post-hoc test.
Results: In all the three groups, significant amount of bacteria were left behind after hand excavation. Group II and Group III, in which cavities were treated with A. vera and propolis extracts respectively, showed a significant reduction in the bacterial counts when compared to control the group.
Conclusions: Hand excavation alone does not completely eliminate bacteria, which may predispose treated teeth to secondary caries. Both propolis and A. vera extracts can be used as potential natural disinfecting agents, thereby embracing the concept of phytotherapy in minimum intervention dentistry.
Keywords: Aloe vera; atraumatic restorative treatment; cavity disinfection; minimum intervention dentistry; phytotherapy; propolis; total viable count.