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Br Dent J. 2012 Dec;213(11):551-7. doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2012.1087.

Minimal intervention dentistry: part 4. Detection and diagnosis of initial caries lesions.

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Faculté de Chirurgie Dentaire, Université PARIS DESCARTES (1 rue Maurice Arnoux, 92120 Montrouge) et Service d'Odontologie, Hôpital Bretonneau, APHP (2 rue Carpeaux, 75018 Paris), France.


The detection of carious lesions is focused on the identification of early mineral changes to allow the demineralisation process to be managed by non-invasive interventions. The methods recommended for clinical diagnosis of initial carious lesions are discussed and illustrated. These include the early detection of lesions, evaluation of the extent of the lesion and its state of activity and the establishment of appropriate monitoring. The place of modern tools, including those based on fluorescence, is discussed. These can help inform patients. They are also potentially useful in regular control visits to monitor the progression or regression of early lesions. A rigorous and systematic approach to caries diagnosis is essential to establish a care plan for the disease and to identify preventive measures based on more precise diagnosis and to reduce reliance on restorative measures.

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