Managing Carious Lesions: Consensus Recommendations on Carious Tissue Removal

Adv Dent Res. 2016 May;28(2):58-67. doi: 10.1177/0022034516639271.


The International Caries Consensus Collaboration undertook a consensus process and here presents clinical recommendations for carious tissue removal and managing cavitated carious lesions, including restoration, based on texture of demineralized dentine. Dentists should manage the disease dental caries and control activity of existing cavitated lesions to preserve hard tissues and retain teeth long-term. Entering the restorative cycle should be avoided as far as possible. Controlling the disease in cavitated carious lesions should be attempted using methods which are aimed at biofilm removal or control first. Only when cavitated carious lesions either are noncleansable or can no longer be sealed are restorative interventions indicated. When a restoration is indicated, the priorities are as follows: preserving healthy and remineralizable tissue, achieving a restorative seal, maintaining pulpal health, and maximizing restoration success. Carious tissue is removed purely to create conditions for long-lasting restorations. Bacterially contaminated or demineralized tissues close to the pulp do not need to be removed. In deeper lesions in teeth with sensible (vital) pulps, preserving pulpal health should be prioritized, while in shallow or moderately deep lesions, restoration longevity becomes more important. For teeth with shallow or moderately deep cavitated lesions, carious tissue removal is performed according toselective removal to firm dentine.In deep cavitated lesions in primary or permanent teeth,selective removal to soft dentineshould be performed, although in permanent teeth,stepwise removalis an option. The evidence and, therefore, these recommendations support less invasive carious lesion management, delaying entry to, and slowing down, the restorative cycle by preserving tooth tissue and retaining teeth long-term.

Keywords: caries sealing; dental caries; incomplete excavation; minimally invasive dentistry; selective excavation; stepwise excavation.

Publication types

  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Consensus
  • Dental Caries / therapy*
  • Dental Pulp
  • Dentin
  • Humans