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J Public Health Dent. 1996;56(3 Spec No):135-40; discussion 161-3.

Atraumatic restorative treatment (ART): rationale, technique, and development.

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  • 1Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Dental Department, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe.


Despite long-term efforts to use appropriate dental equipment for treating dental caries in economically less developed countries, the predominant treatment remains extraction. The reasons for this failure to save teeth are given in this paper. Supported by results of research undertaken in economically developed countries, a 15-step treatment module for dental caries is presented. This technique, which is called Atraumatic Restorative Treatment (ART), is based on removing decalcified tooth tissue using only hand instruments and restoring the cavity with an adhesive filling material. The technique does not require electricity. The advantages and limitations of the technique are discussed and its use in a school oral health program in Zimbabwe presented. We conclude that ART can make restorative oral care more available to a larger part of the world population than it is today.

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